2022 OPALCO Board Election Results: Madsen, Silverstein and Whitfield

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Submitted by OPALCO.

On Saturday, April 30, Bill Severson, Member of the Elections and Governance Committee, announced the results of the OPALCO Board of Directors election at the Annual Meeting held via Zoom. In District 1 (San Juan et al), Mark Madsen retained his position with 995 votes; followed by challengers Jessa Madosky with 595 and Steven Carelton with 527. In Districts 3 and 4 (Lopez, Decatur et al), the two unopposed candidates were elected: Brian Silverstein received 1,724 votes and Jerry Whitfield received 1,654 voice. A total of 2,213 ballots were cast, which represents 19.24% of the membership.

Severson encouraged OPALCO members to step up and serve on the volunteer Elections and Governance Committee (EGC). The EGC is responsible for cultivating qualified candidates for each council election. There are currently vacancies within the EGC in each district. The time commitment is reasonable: committee members work year-round on an occasional basis to identify potential candidates; meetings are concentrated from November to January during the election season.

About 165 people logged in to participate in the annual members meeting on Zoom. In the State of the Co-op Address, Board Chairman Vince Dauciunas opened the meeting with a call to action to get rid of fossil fuels: “…the real emergency for us, living in the heart of the Salish Sea, is to remove carbon. pollution of our air and water to protect our beautiful and sensitive marine environment and all the species that live there. The most important thing we can do is switch to electricity for heating and transportation. The work to build new renewable resources, to consolidate the regional transmission system, to determine where our electricity will come from over the next decade and more… these solutions will take time, a lot of money and political will . We must act now to wean ourselves from the long habit of fossil fuels. The result is a lasting improvement in our environment – ​​and there is too much at stake to wait.

Managing Director Foster Hildreth thanked OPALCO’s cooperative team – from board leadership to member service representatives who answer the phone day in and day out – and acknowledged the line team for their essential work to maintain power supply reliability. Hildreth highlighted OPALCO’s core values: Safety, Reliability, Profitability and Sustainability and briefly described the cooperative’s achievements in these key areas. Hildreth touted the near-perfect reliability rates of OPALCO (99.87%) and Rock Island (99.99%) in 2021 and once again thanked the team for keeping members connected and safe during of the past two years of pandemic isolation and disruption.

Hildreth announced the second cooperative community solar project – the Bailer Hill Microgrid – which will be open for member subscriptions this summer, and encouraged members to take advantage of the $46 million available to fund member efficiency projects through of the Switch it Up program. He advised members to take part in the Island Way series of workshops, which give members access to the tools and incentives they need to future-proof their homes and businesses.

A new business “good deal” was also announced, including incentives, technical assistance and grant opportunities for business members. The Energize the San Juans campaign is a partnership with USDA-funded Sustainable Connections to provide access to:

• Deeply discounted, low-cost energy audit for businesses of all sizes

• USDA grants that can cover 25% of solar and energy upgrades for rural businesses

• Up to $5,000 in energy-saving incentives through the Community Energy Challenge, including up to $1,000 in LED bulbs

• 26% tax credit on the cost of solar panels

• Invoice financing up to $100,000 off your OPALCO invoice at 2%

Thanks to donations from OPALCO’s generous suppliers and partners, some 30 door prizes were awarded to members present at the meeting, including electric lawn tools, emergency preparedness kits, backup batteries for computers and home appliances and gift cards. Awards were donated by: Carlson Sales Metering Solutions, Cooperative Response Center, Evergreen Consulting, General Pacific, Island Excavating, Jen-Jay Inc., Orcas Construction Co., PNGC, Schrock, Rock Island Communications

According to the list taken at the annual meeting, members who attended the entire meeting will receive a $10 credit (one per membership). The following co-op members who voted in this year’s election will receive a $50 credit after their names are drawn from all ballots received: Wilfred and Nancy Johnson, David and Judy Kennedy, William and Norma Brimmer, Jeffrey & Dianne Dyer, David Anderson, Gerald & Carole Anderson, Robin Gates, Darcie Nelson, Clifford Harby & Julia Murray, and Sanford & Corky Olson.

OPALCO is required by the Rural Utilities (RUS) to hold an annual meeting each year. Members who missed the meeting can view the 2021 Annual Report online (www.opalco.com).

The next Island Way events are:

• Zoom workshop: “How will climate change affect my electricity bill” on May 11 at 5:00 p.m.

• Electric Vehicle Jamboree at the San Juan County Fairgrounds on June 8 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Learn more at www.opalco.com or contact us at communications@opalco.com.

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