Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) held its 80th annual meeting on Saturday, April 22 at the Suwannee County Agricultural Coliseum in Live Oak. The event was attended by nearly 800 people, including SVEC member-owners and their families and guests.
“Imagine what it was like for kids to do their homework by kerosene lamp, for families to pump all the water for their home and livestock by hand, or how much work it was to cook using a wood-burning stove,” urged SVEC Board of Trustees President, Hugh Hunter in his welcome speech. “In the 1930’s for-profit utilities wouldn’t string electric lines across woods and fields. There wasn’t any money in it. So, the rural people of the U.S. formed their own electric utilities to serve themselves. That was the birth of Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative.”
Hunter also told his audience that the cooperative is in strong financial shape and that the board has authorized a return of about $850,000 in capital credits to its members this year. SVEC has returned around $12.7 million in capital credits to its members since the co-op was founded in 1937.
SVEC Chief Executive Officer, Michael McWaters shared some of co-op’s recent achievements related to the organization’s five core values: safety, positive member experience, outreach to community, reliability and economic viability. He made special note of the current streak of 920 consecutive days without a lost-time injury and over $10,600 raised for the United Way of Suwannee Valley. McWaters also told the audience that the light’s came on 99.95% of the time a member flipped a switch in 2016 and that the cost of electricity supplied by SVEC is lower this year than in 2016.
Three of SVEC’s trustees were up for re-election at the meeting. Mike Adams was re-elected in District 1, Jerry Goff in District 2 and Sam Roberson in District 3.