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Federated Rural Electric hosts 77th annual meeting

JACKSON -- More than 500 attended Federated Rural Electric's 77th annual meeting Nov. 17 at Jackson County Central High School.

"We served 560 members pancakes," said Richard Burud, Federated's general manager. "We had 328 members register."

Members elected director David A. Hansen, Jackson, for District 3 and Harold Knutson, Jackson, for District 4. On the Nominating Committee, David C. Hansen, Lakefield;,was elected for District 1 and Dave Fisher, Lakefield, was elected for District 2. In addition, Federated recognized retiring Director Lyle Fisher, Jackson, for his 20 years of service.

Hansen and Burud provided a cooperative update on 2012 highlights and 2013 outlook. Hansen reported on legislation that could increase future electric rates and asked members to become involved in the legislative process by calling, emailing or joining a new member advisory committee in 2013.

Burud reported on line construction completed in 2012 and Federated's community involvement, including two linemen, Jake Soderholm and Matt Madden, going to Haiti in December for two weeks to work on rural electrification there.

Burud also reported that 2013 will involve Federated members' costs going up through the power cost adjustment (PCA).

"Two of our three wholesale power suppliers will have rate increases, Burud stated. "Great River Energy anticipates a 4 percent increase, while Basin Electric/L&O Power Cooperative will have a 6 percent rate increase; meanwhile, hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration will not change. Right now our board does not anticipate a rate increase for Federated itself, but that could change if one of the large agricultural plants change operations."

Burud also reported that Federated is financially healthy.

"Even with little to no crop drying this fall and the mild winter, Federated's sales were just 8 percent below budget," Burud saud, adding that the two ethanol plants and soybean plant account for 60 percent of Federated's sales.

More than $633,000 was also distributed to co-op members as capital credits on the Nov. 1 electric bills as bill credits based on members' 1992 and 2011 patronage.

After the annual meeting, the Board of Directors hosted an organizational meeting and elected officers. Officers are David A. Hansen, president; David Meschke, vice president; Jim Oltman, secretary/treasurer.

Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 5,000 electric members in Jackson and Martin counties.