AzGT Assists its Member Electric Distribution Co-ops with Their Annual Meetings
Annual meetings help local co-ops stay engaged with their communities
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2021
BENSON – Electric distribution cooperatives are owned by their member/consumers at the end of the line. Traditionally, the co-ops hold in-person annual meetings, but safety concerns surrounding the Covid pandemic ruled them out for 2020 and early 2021. Arizona G&T Cooperatives, which provides wholesale power and other services to its Member electric distribution cooperatives, continued to help its Member co-ops hold successful annual meetings, whether in person or online.
Mohave Electric Cooperative of Bullhead City, Arizona, held its first in-person annual meeting in two years on September 16, 2021. Barbara Wolford, a member/consumer of MEC for 30 years, said such meetings keep members informed. “It’s important to take part,” said Wolford, while attending MEC’s meeting. “We own it, we have a say in it, we can vote.” At most annual meetings, member/consumers may elect fellow members to serve on the co-op board of directors, and often vote on other key issues.
Here’s how AzGT assisted Member co-ops at their annual meetings in 2021.
- Mohave Electric Cooperative celebrated its 75th anniversary at its September meeting. AzGT provided audio/visual and other support, including Touchstone Energy program education and member engagement.
- Graham County Electric Cooperative of Pima, Arizona, held its first in-person member meeting since 2019 on September 18. AzGT provided technical services.
- Anza Electric Cooperative of Anza, California, wanted to have an in-person meeting on July 17, but the only location that could handle the more than 300 members expected—the high school gymnasium—wasn’t available because of Covid restrictions. AzGT pre-produced a video version of the annual meeting, which was posted on Anza EC’s website for members to view.
- Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) of Willcox, Arizona, held a virtual annual meeting on April 29, when concerns about the Covid pandemic were at a high point. AzGT recorded the meeting and provided it for posting on the co-op’s website.
- Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative of Duncan, Arizona, held a virtual meeting on April 27, when Covid remained a concern. AzGT provided speakers via a remote link and posted the meeting online.
Phil Cook, Graham County Electric’s general manager, welcomed his co-op’s in-person meeting as a chance to renew communication with member/consumers. “We address members’ questions about reliability, regulation, and overall health of the cooperative,” Cook said. “It also allows members to know we are accountable to them.”
While electric distribution cooperatives have provided reliable, affordable electricity for decades, they are finding new ways to serve their communities. Mohave EC now offers fiber-based broadband services. Anza EC recently enhanced reliability by partnering with AzGT on the SunAnza Phase I and II projects, which include two solar arrays and Phase I and II of an innovative state-of-the-art battery storage system. New smart meters allow SSVEC to make better decisions about member needs. Duncan Valley EC worked with AzGT on a substation upgrade that improved electric capacity.
Co-op annual meetings, whether in person or virtual, give co-ops an opportunity to share new developments, explain their financial condition, and report on any patronage refunds that are returned to member/consumers in the form of capital credits checks. For more information about cooperatives, visit Benefits of Electric Co-ops.
About Arizona G&T Cooperatives
Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 625-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 866 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities—and 36 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six Member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.
Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of AzGT Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits. Sierra has initiated two utility-scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of Apache Generating Station, and SunAnza Phase I, a 2 MW solar array, as well as SunAnza Phase II, which includes an additional 1.4 MW solar array and a battery storage system, all of which is on property owned by the cooperative adjacent to its headquarters in Anza, California.
Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.
The Class A Member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and a California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza.
These Member cooperatives own AzGT and, by extension, AzGT’s Member distribution cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.
AEPCO also serves five Class D energy services Members which are scheduling and trading customers and which include the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Phoenix, AZ; Lincoln County Power District #1, Pioche, NV; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Southwest Public Power Agency, Maricopa, AZ; and Valley Electric Association, Pahrump, NV.
AEPCO is also a Member/owner of ACES, a nationwide energy management company that helps its Members and customers buy, sell, and manage energy more efficiently and with less risk. The AEPCO/AzGT Benson campus hosts the ACES West Regional Trading Center (WRTC), which benefits AEPCO/AzGT Members and customers.