Blue Ridge Mountain EMC (BRMEMC) held its 81st Annual Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Co-op’s headquarters in Young Harris. Due to COVID-19 precautions, modifications were made and the meeting was a drive-in style meeting.
Members and guests that attended entered through the gated operations entrance and drove through the warehouse to register, enter door prizes and vote in-person before proceeding to the designated parking space in front of the truck shed where the business meeting was held. Attendees remained in their vehicles at all times and tuned their FM radio to a station they could listen to the business meeting.
Board of Directors President Ray Cook welcomed members and guests, and read a resolution created for former BRMEMC Board Director Charles Jenkins who passed away earlier this year. Outgoing General Manager Jeremy Nelms gave a farewell message thanking the Membership, employees and Board of Directors for their support during his time here at the Co-op and shared successes he experienced during his four-year tenure. Nelms introduced Interim General Manager Erik C. Brinke.
Brinke, an 18-year employee of BRMEMC, shared a brief biography before delivering an executive summary from this past year. He was pleased to share that BRMEMC maintained a strong financial position in terms of equity and paying down long-term debt; electric rates held steady over the past year; and BRMEMC will be passing through to its members a temporary rate reduction from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) beginning Oct. 1, 2020. The average residential electric customer will see a reduction of around 1.4% for their KWH usage. This rate reduction will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 20, 2021. In continuing the executive summary, Brinke highlighted the unprecedented growth our service area continues to see. BRMEMC now maintains 54,537 meters, 47,000 members, 6,200 miles of electric lines, and over 10,000 broadband customers. He gave an example from this past July and August that spoke of the growth our area is experiencing. In these two months, BRMEMC added a net total of 400 new members; the customer service department took 24,000 calls and served 1,200 walk-ins, and 571 work orders were completed. All this while continuing to maintain the Co-op’s five county power grid and working safely through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brinke also shared through partnerships with TVA and CoBank, BRMEMC was able to secure $30,000 in monetary funds to the five counties local food banks. BRMEMC installed its first electric vehicle charging station at the Blairsville-Union Chamber of Commerce to promote and further adopt electric vehicles in our service area. This was completed in partnership with the
Blairsville-Union Chamber of Commerce. In closing, Brinke assured the Membership that the Co-op will continue serving its members with the best reliable energy, continue expanding broadband, and provide exceptional customer service.
The meeting moved directly into the business session where Board of Directors Secretary Roy Perren shared the determination of a quorum, read the notice of the meeting, and the Membership made the motion to approve the minutes. Legal Counsel Charles Autry gave a report of the Nominating Committee and the report of the nominations by petition. Board President Cook asked the Membership if there was any unfinished business before moving into new business. No unfinished business or new business was discussed.
Legal Counsel Autry presented the election results. 5,960 members voted in this year’s election. Board of Directors incumbents Jeff Ledford from Clay County, North Carolina; and Bert Rogers from Towns County, North Carolina were re-elected. Incumbent Danny Henson won the contested Union County, Georgia Board of Directors seat. Also, on the ballot was the by-law amendment for directors to remain in their elected position for no more than five consecutive three-year terms from the time of their respective election at a meeting of the members. The by-law amendment passed 77% in favor to 23% not in favor.
Board President Cook adjourned the Annual Meeting at 5:50 p.m. and thanked those in attendance as well as the employees for their continuous hard work and making this year’s Annual Meeting a success.
The 83rd Annual Meeting is scheduled for September 2021.
For more information on the 2020 Annual Meeting visit brmemc.com/annualmeeting.
About Blue Ridge Mountain EMC
Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation is a member-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Young Harris, Georgia, serving nearly 47,000 members in Cherokee and Clay Counties in Western North Carolina, and Towns, Union and Fannin Counties in Northeast Georgia. Organized locally in 1937, BRMEMC has invested well over $280 million in physical infrastructure in its mission to provide reliable electric and broadband services to its members where those services would not otherwise have been available. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. ###