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Valley REC members elect three directors during 2019 annual meeting

HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Valley Rural Electric Cooperative members re-elected three incumbent directors to the co-op board during the April 5 annual meeting, held at Huntingdon Area High School. Co-op leaders also informed members about the importance of nuclear power in Pennsylvania and explained a number of co-op programs and services.

The business meeting drew a crowd of more than 800 members and guests. The voting members in attendance cast ballots to fill three seats on the nine-person board of directors that represents the utility's more than 23,000 consumers.

In February, nominating meetings were held in three of the co-op's nine director districts. Members nominated in each of those meetings stood for election during the annual meeting. Those elected to three-year terms on the board were: Greg Henry of Hustontown, Fulton County, the District 7 incumbent; Linda McMath of Shade Gap, Huntingdon County, the District 8 incumbent; and Cindy Bigelow of Williamsburg, Blair County, the District 9 incumbent. All three were unopposed on the ballot.

Valley Rural Electric Cooperative President and CEO Rich Bauer offers congratulations to elected incumbent directors James Stauffer, Joanne Whitsel, and Leroy Barnes.Photo caption:
Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Board Chairman James Stauffer, right, and Valley REC President & CEO Rich Bauer, left, offer congratulations to elected incumbent directors, from left, Linda McMath, Cindy Bigelow, and Greg Henry during the co-op's annual meeting held Friday, April 5 at Huntingdon Area High School. The directors were elected to three-year terms on the co-op's board.

Photo by Doug Roles. Click photo for larger version.

Valley REC board chairman James Stauffer of McVeytown, Mifflin County, presided over the business meeting and explained the co-op's viewpoint on the debate over adding Pennsylvania's nuclear power to the state's 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. He said premature closing of nuclear plants would be bad for Pennsylvania's economy and environment.

"Electric co-ops in Pennsylvania are concerned that not giving nuclear equal footing in the energy markets now could lead to higher electric rates down the road," Stauffer said. "If nuclear plants close, natural gas will likely fill the gap, but replacing nuclear with more natural gas means the market becomes less competitive and less diverse."

He added, "If the bulk of your electricity in the future is from natural gas power plants and the cost of gas goes up, so will the price of your electricity."

President & CEO Rich Bauer reminded members that Valley REC Energy Services (VRES) offers residential and farm-related electrical service and repairs. The electrical services arm of the business was launched in 2017 to assist residents who need a quick turnaround on electrical upgrades or have small projects that may not be a good fit for larger local electrical contractors.

Also during the meeting, Bauer encouraged members to consider participating in the co-op's demand response program, which lessens the amount of electricity members use at times of peak demand, when the price the co-op pays for wholesale power is the greatest. Demand response units work by temporarily disconnecting power to water heaters, to shed load while the insulated appliance maintains water temperature. More than 5,000 Valley members participate in the program.

(More details about the annual meeting, including the 2018 annual report, are available in the May 2019 issue of Penn Lines magazine.)

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