CEO’s Message: A Look Under the Hood

December 2022

By Michael S. McWaters, Executive V.P./CEO

Transparency is important for any organization. In the public space, that transparency is built right in to our democratic system of government. Even though corporations may ultimately answer to their shareholders, they need the trust of their customers to keep thriving.

For a cooperative, transparency is essential. It’s one of the defining principles that guide everything we do. As an electric company owned by the consumer-members we serve, keeping you up to date on the latest happenings inside our cooperative and the larger electric industry has always been a priority.

It’s why we publish the newsletter you’re reading now. And it’s why, around this time of year, we like to give you an update on how our wholesale power provider, Seminole Electric Cooperative, has done business over the last 12 months and what its outlook is for the year ahead.

But, like all things related to the economy, this year has been a little different. Just as our consumer-members have felt the squeeze on prices for everyday essentials like gasoline and groceries, Suwannee Valley Electric has felt the effects of inflation in our own way.

That’s why we’d like to take a closer look than usual at the forces influencing the cost of the power we buy from Seminole and the price that is ultimately passed on in your electric bill. In particular, we’ll be zooming in on the skyrocketing price of natural gas and why it has become such an important part of the energy mix, not just here at SVEC, but throughout the world.

Many of you have no doubt noticed the impact of these changes on your electric bill. Our hope is this article will help explain the larger trends that have led to the increased costs our consumer-members are facing as well as the steps both we and Seminole are taking to make sure the cost doesn’t get out of control.

We believe this information is important to you as a consumer member of this cooperative and it is our responsibility to provide you with it. I hope everyone will take some time to read the story to get a better understanding of the challenges the cooperative has faced over the last year and what we can expect in the months ahead.

Of course, this is also a time to come together to celebrate and we have so much to be thankful for at SVEC. Even with the economic challenges of the last year we have accomplished a great deal, not least of which was the launch of our new fiber-optics project, which will enhance the co-op’s smart grid capabilities and allow us to offer reliable, high-speed internet to all our consumer-members.

It’s been a remarkable year for our cooperative and I’m confident that more great things are in store for 2023. Until then, merry Christmas and happy New Year from our cooperative family to yours.