May marked another year of serving you and a successful annual meeting for your cooperative. We had many exciting moments, including the highest record of members who registered and voted in our history, our first Fort Mill annual meeting location and free hot dogs served by the York Rotary Club.
Annual meeting season is a time I use to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, where we are and how we plan to continue serving you with excellence. I’m grateful our Lord blessed us with another year without a major injury or large-scale outage, employees who live and breathe service, a dedicated board of trustees and the privilege we have to serve you and the communities we share.
Last month, capital credits were returned to members, breaking our record yet again by giving back $2.6 million. Continuing to return more money to members each year not only shows the financial health of your cooperative, but it also exemplifies the cooperative difference, our unique business model and the value of your membership.
Looking ahead, we are excited to be in the final stretches of our Rural Internet Project. Now, more than 4,500 members have access to high-speed internet that didn’t before. We’ve also kept your rates stable for the past 12 years and plan to continue that trend through this year. We continue implementing new technologies to mitigate outages, making your service more reliable than it has ever been before. This includes upgrades to several substations, researching, developing and implementing programs to support and educate our members who choose to own electric vehicles and planning for growth to ensure a robust infrastructure for the communities, businesses and members we serve.
Additionally, we are focused on the research and development of smart devices that can help our members monitor their energy use and save money. Your co-op is proud to be your trusted energy advisor, supporting you with the facts and educational materials so that you can make the best choices on implementing the new tools and technologies available in the market.
This wouldn’t be possible without the ability to focus solely on our members by way of the cooperative business model. We exist for you, our business is democratically controlled by you and, at your co-op, you have a voice. Your support of the cooperative business model keeps your cooperative’s business in your hands, run by a locally elected board of trustees. The alternative, which includes multiple layers of regulation, wouldn’t allow us to do the right things for the right reasons, for the best interest of our members. Thank you for allowing us to continue to look out for you as your neighbor, as your friend, as your family—as your co-op.
President and Chief Executive Officer