Rural Electric Cooperative

Cooperative Holds the Member's Annual Meeting


More than 60 members, guests and friends of the cooperative gathered at its New Castle headquarters and enjoyed live music by Blue Connection, as well as hot dogs and chips, cold drinks, cookies, ice cream and fellowship before the business session.

Russell Shepherd, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Christiansburg, offered the invocation to open the meeting

Cooperative CEO Shawn Hildebrand welcomed members and introduced board members and guests. He then introduced winners of the 2017 Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives $1,000 Education Scholarship: Olivia Baker, a senior at James River High School, and Jake Bostic, a senior at Craig County High School.  He also recognized winners of these scholarships who were unable to attend the meeting: Elias Linsin, a senior at Alleghany High School, and Lynsey Taylor, a senior at Craig County High School.

Cooperative attorney Steve Yost began the business portion of the meeting, noting that all bylaws requirements for the meeting and election had been satisfied.


Following brief campaign remarks by the two board candidates, Yost conducted the director election, in which incumbent District 1 Director Persinger and District 3 Director Ryan were returned to the cooperative’s governing board. Cheryl Lockhart and Linda Baker served as vote tellers. There were 812 members present either in person or by proxy for the director election. 


Board President Jasper Persinger welcomed everyone to their 81st Annual Meeting. He noted that the Cooperative is fortunate to have Hildebrand as CEO and thanked him, on behalf of the board, for his service.


“During 2017 we dealt with various topics that addressed several aspects of our mission statement, ranging from reviewing the audited financials to the retiring of capital credits to the membership to plans for service in the future,” Persinger said.


“We passed 200,000 man-hours without a lost-time accident,” he added. “For an organization that employs around 24 full-time employees, this is a very significant accomplishment.”

Persinger continued, “We retired over $650,000 in capital credits to our member/owners. This is the largest amount retired in a single year in the almost 82-year history of the Cooperative.


“Finally, we directed the CEO to review the current and future power supply of the organization. Power supply costs account for 50 percent of the cost to serve the members. Such a large cost can have an immediate and lasting impact to the overall cost the members pay for their electric service,” Persinger added.                                                                     


“In closing, even though the world changes, one thing never changes, and that is that your Cooperative will work as diligently as possible to continue to serve you in the future. Thank you for attending this year’s annual meeting,” he concluded.


In his secretary-treasurer’s report, Frank R. Garman, Jr. noted that the co-op had a successful year in 2017, with margins of approximately $771,122.                                         

At year’s end, Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative had 7,598 service connections in place, with 7,161 active accounts on the books, Garman said.  These members were served by 1,387 miles of line, including 1,160 miles of overhead and 227 miles of underground distribution line.

“The high quality of service provided by Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of the co-op staff,” Garman added. “The board and management take this opportunity to thank the cooperative employees for a job well done,” he said.

“Your cooperative books were audited in 2017 by the accounting firm Brown, Edwards & Company of Roanoke, Virginia.  The report made to your Board in February indicated that your cooperative is in good financial condition, and all records are properly kept in accordance with RUS uniform system of accounts,” Garman said.

“Finally, the staff and management of the cooperative would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the membership, for the opportunity to serve such a fine area.  Serving you is our reason for being,” Garman concluded.

In his CEO report, Hildebrand noted that upon registration for the meeting, each member received a card featuring the co-op’s mission statement: “Each member/owner will be provided with the benefit of safe, reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound management and the Cooperative principles.”

He then outlined steps in 2017 to fulfill this mission statement. The cooperative:

·         returned more than $650,000 in capital credits; 

·         conducted a member-satisfaction survey;

·         had good safety performance, with no lost-time accidents in over 200,000 man-hours;

·         is planning a new substation in the Ironto area; 

·         installed system maps on mobile devices to improve outage response;

·         is conducting a sectionalizing study to decide where devices need to be added; 

·         improved approximately 165 miles of right-of-way and replaced several miles of old copper conductor in the Blue Spring Run and White Rock areas;

·         formed a subsidiary in 2017, Craig-Botetourt Energy and Home Services, to help control contractor and right-of-way-maintenance costs;

·         is working on improving cyber security.

Hildebrand also noted that CBEC apprentice linemen Jackson Blankenship and Nathan Nelson participated in the regional Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo in May, and employee Troy Duncan served as an event judge.

Hildebrand closed his report noting that it is a privilege to serve the membership of Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative and thanking the co-op’s employees for their service during 2017.


Hildebrand recognized service anniversaries, including those of directors James Huffman (40 years), Jasper Persinger (15 years) and J.C. Winstead (five years); and the cooperative’s Supervisor of Field Services Mack McCaleb (30 years).


A variety of $25, $50 and $100 electricity-credit attendance prizes were drawn by co-op employee Donna Carper with the assistance of Abigail Hildebrand, and Carl Cahoon was announced as winner of the $250 electricity-credit proxy prize.