Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Becky Christofferson
Pine Bluffs Post 

High West Energy holds annual meeting


The annual meeting of High West Energy was held Nov. 5 at the Kimball High School in Kimball with approximately 325 people attending the event.

On the business side, members listened to reports of officers, directors and committees, voted upon three board seats as well as revised bylaws.

The three district board seats up for election were District 14, which encompasses the Hereford and Grover areas as well as the Buford area; District 16, which encompasses a section east and northeast of the Cheyenne limits, but west of Hillsdale; and District 17, with land around Potter, Neb., and south into Colorado, just west of Peetz. The current district board members ran unopposed and the nominating committee recommended that they be re-elected to the board. Being re-elected was Jerry Burnett of District 14; Jamie Fowler of District 16 and Kevin Tomas of District 17.

According to High West Energy’s Public Relations Manager Lorell Walter, there were two bylaws that were revised at the meeting.

The first was concerning Article 1 – Members, Section 1: Qualifications and Obligations, in which a change of wording was needed to further clarify who qualified. In the previous bylaw, it stated that “a husband and wife may jointly become a member and their application for a joint membership may be accepted in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section provided the husband and wife comply jointly with the provisions of the subdivisions (a), (b) and (c).”

This was voted upon and approved to change the words “husband and wife” to read two people. Also approved to be added to the bylaw was “and agree in writing that the Cooperative may rely upon the action of one individual of the joint membership as binding upon both for all matters pertaining to the business of the Cooperative and the member’s purchase and use of electric energy”.

Walter further explained that by changing the bylaw to read “two people”, several other instances throughout the bylaws in other sections needed to reflect that change.

Walter explained that the other bylaw that was changed was the elimination of the by proxy voting as last year the cooperative offered voting either in person at the meeting or by mail. “The board just felt this wasn’t needed as members could now vote by themselves through the mail or in person.”

Also announced at the annual meeting, was the date and location change for the 2017 meeting. Walter said that although a time hadn’t been officially set, the next annual meeting would be held June 22, 2017 and would be held at the headquarters in Pine Bluffs. This will be the 80th annual meeting of the company.

“We moved the date up to reflect on the previous year,” she explained. “We didn’t want the same challenge that we had this year of reporting on 2015 at the end of 2016.” Walter continued to say that they wanted to be mindful of the weather and planting season and didn’t want to intrude on a weekend.

Walter did state that the date was set for a Thursday, but didn’t believe this would hinder anything. “We have held weeknight barbecues before during the summer and they have always been successful. So we think this will work just as well.”

It was reported that 49.07 percent of the cooperative’s dollars came from commercial and 24.72 percent came from residential. Irrigation made up 12.60 percent of dollars while 7.81 percent came from the U.S. Air Force.

Purchasing power was the biggest expense that occurred during 2015 with 66.08 percent taking a chunk of dollars spent while operations and administration came up to 20.03 percent. Depreciation accounted for 7.31 percent and 4.99 percent was from interest.

Throughout 2015, 760 poles were replaced, eight new substations were added as well as 20.26 miles of energized line and by the end of 2015, it was reported that there were 9,860 members.

Patronage dividends to be paid out for 2015 was reported at $1,179,411. Members receive a part of the margins that are earned, according to the company’s website.

At the end of March this year, a letter was to each members explaining that High West Energy’s rate through Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, raised their whole sale rate Jan. 1, 2016. This put an additional million dollars on the company in the form of costs. It was also explained that these rates were expected to continue for the next two years, 2017 and 2018.

According to Walter, as the coop sees increases, these are just passed on to the consumer. “It pretty much is a five percent raise for the next three years.”

It was stated in the letter to the members that “the cost increases are primarily an outcome of complying with new environmental regulations as they relate to operating power plants.”

Due to the rate increase, the board asked a consulting firm to look at the cost of service and rate study. The new rates went into effect May 1, 2016.


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