Capital Electric Cooperative holds 75th annual meeting

photo of Sheri Haugen Hoffart

Due to continued COVID-19 concerns, Capital Electric Cooperative’s (CEC) 2021 annual meeting was mainly a virtual experience for those co-op members choosing to be engaged in the process.

This was the co-op’s second year holding the meeting at the Bismarck Event Center in October. The meeting was live streamed on CEC’s website to ensure members could participate.

The event was going to be a big celebration for CEC, as the co-op is celebrating its 75th anniversary. This is a milestone that many electric co-ops are reaching, and it’s an important one for many reasons. We feel proud that we’ve adapted to our members’ changing needs over the years and still provide the most reliable electric service possible. During this year’s meeting, a video by retired National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) General Manager Vern Dosch highlighted CEC’s history
of continued growth in its service area.

Director voting, although for only one contested district, was again accomplished mainly through mail-in and online methods. The added ability to vote through SmartHub with a “Vote Now” button helped streamline the voting process. CEC’s election vendor, Survey and Ballots Systems, provided the co-op with this ability, allowing more voting members to be involved in the elections.

District 1 was the only contested election, with 27-year incumbent Dwight Wrangham facing off with Dave Nehring. Wrangham came out on top with the most votes and will be serving a three-year term that begins immediately.

In District 2, Deon Vilhauer of Bismarck was re-elected, and in District 3, Rex Hollenbeck from McClusky earned another three-year term.

CEC’s nine-person board of directors is made up of three directors from each of the co-op’s three districts. In 2019, CEC’s bylaws were changed to allow for online and mail-in voting. Each member received a mailing with a biography and photo of the candidates and a link to the co-op’s website where they could view candidate videos.

The voting process was open until midnight on Oct. 4, and there were 2,066 votes placed at that time. Another 6 votes were cast at the meeting itself. We were again quite pleased with member engagement in this process.

To provide for an efficient meeting, the co-op prerecorded the President and Manager’s Report. Board president Sheri Haugen-Hoffart and General Manager Paul Fitterer highlighted many details on the co-op’s first 75 years in a historical retrospective portion of their report, leading attendees through the high and low points, and the successes and struggles of providing electricity in our extreme environment. The business report was also pre-recorded. In his report, Business Manager Luke Steen
provided a look into the co-op’s financial picture for the past year.

As we look forward to the co-op’s future, big changes are on the horizon. The most significant change in the upcoming year will be the move to a new headquarters building. After spending more than 50 years in the current location, CEC will be relocating to the Bilfinger-Westcon building on Highway 83, just north of 71st Avenue. Much planning has been taking place to make this move a reality, and 2022 will be a year marked by much more planning to ease the process. We are anxious to welcome
you to the new location!

As our rate structure changes and we purchase and promote electric vehicles, as we assist our rural members in the installation of solar pasture wells and continue to be your trusted energy partner, we commit to being here for you when you call. Our dedication to you, our valued members, will never change.

Next year, we are planning to bring the membership together once again for a full member celebration. Please place June 16, 2022, on your calendar for the 2022 annual meeting. The Bismarck Event Center will again host the event, and we are hoping to have all of you there enjoying a great meal, some entertainment, an informative meeting and more.

We thank you for your continued membership. Our employees and Board of Directors are proud to serve you!

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