2020 President's Annual Report
Hugh Gene Smith
Pearl River Valley Electric, despite difficult challenges this year, has continued its trend of positive growth. With this year’s pandemic devastating our economy and causing hardships for our members, your Board of Directors have worked tirelessly to create a sense of normalcy by ensuring there was no interruption or drop in quality of service. It is important for our members to understand that regardless of COVID-19, our goal is to provide the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost. As we navigate through the rest of this year and beyond, rest assured that your Board of Directors will continue to work to maintain the economic stability of your Association.
WHOLESALE POWER COSTS
Purchasing wholesale power accounts for nearly 72 percent of our overall cost of providing electric service to members. PRVEPA is a member-owner of Cooperative Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative. This arrangement ensures us of having our wholesale power delivered on a not-for-profit basis.
Cooperative Energy’s strategy to generate electricity is to use a broad mix of fuels—including coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and other renewable sources—which helps keep costs as low as possible. Finding new, cost-effective ways to meet our wholesale power needs is a continuing priority and your PRVEPA Board will be closely watching developments throughout the industry.
Many of our members may not realize it, but Pearl River Valley Electric plays an important role in helping our region grow economically. Your Association is very active in promoting economic development for our 12-county service area and belongs to various economic development organizations, which are committed to bringing new businesses and helping existing ones grow.
Our employees- our greatest resource- do their part in helping our communities prosper and make them better places to live. When they’re not climbing poles, answering service calls or doing one of dozens of other jobs, they are working to improve the communities they live in. They volunteer as coaches, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders and community service workers.
Our primary function is to provide electric service to our members at the lowest possible cost. Over the years, many electric power associations have undertaken various business enterprises besides providing electricity. As a cooperative we must be good stewards of our member’s money and while we have studied providing additional services, each time, your Board of Directors has determined that our primary purpose should be furnishing electric service to our members.
Since the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill allowing electric cooperatives to consider offering broadband internet in 2019, we have looked into providing this service to our members. However, this is an extremely complicated issue and a project of this scale would likely be more involved and costly than anything PRVEPA has ever undertaken. In effect, we would have to build out more than 6,000 miles of fiber optic line (it does not come through your electric lines), with an estimated cost well exceeding $130 million. We understand the need and desire by many in rural areas to have access to this service, especially with more members working and attending school from home due to COVID-19. For this reason, we are still studying the issue and will continue to evaluate options as they develop.
Pearl River Valley Electric is an electric cooperative owned by the consumers it serves. The annual meeting gives members an opportunity to learn about the progress of your Association and to participate in its business plans. We encourage you to be an active, informed member and attend the annual membership meeting.
Our cooperative is strong and is headed in a direction of success as we prepare to enter 2021. We, as your Board of Directors are committed to making sure that Pearl River Valley Electric is ready to respond to any situation or need. We are also proud that you, as a member of Pearl River Valley Electric, are a part of a great organization with a proven track record of success. As president of your Association, I am proud to present this report for your consideration.