A contract extension that will save billions of dollars and that affects 2 million South Carolinians was signed this week by both Central Electric Power Cooperative and Santee Cooper. The agreement secures long-term cost savings for co-op members as well as for wholesale and industrial customers and calls for a collaborative approach between the electric cooperatives and Santee Cooper.”Today’s signing puts in place significant changes that will help make our two organizations partners in power supply planning and delivery,” says Ron Calcaterra, CEO of Central Electric Power Cooperative. The contract secures billions in cost savings and governs how Central and Santee Cooper will work together.
Central Electric Power Cooperative is the wholesale electricity aggregator for 20 S.C. electric co-ops. Central also has purchase agreements with Duke Energy, the Southeastern Power Administration and SCE&G. The 45-year term of this agreement provides stability that will lead to lower interest on debts, which in turn keeps power costs lower, said Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter.
The May edition of South Carolina Living magazine, which included a special outer wrap with all of the details members need to prepare for the Annual Meeting of Members, has been delivered to the mailboxes of the members of Horry Electric Cooperative. Official Notice Registration postcards were received in advance of the magazine.
Important Annual Meeting Reminders
Please remember that only members who register, in person, to participate in the Annual Meeting of Members between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, are eligible to receive the $25 electric bill credit.
Members will need their Official Notice Registration postcard, some form of photo identification and a little bit of patience. The registration lines can be long, but the process goes a lot faster and runs much more smoothly when the postcards and identification are ready to present to employees taking care of registration when a member gets to the front of the line.
We need you to be there
The Annual Meeting is important. It’s one of the best examples of how membership matters. For Horry Electric, it’s an opportunity to report on the business of the cooperative. Trustees, staff and employees also get a chance to meet members face to face rather than through voice, electronic or written communications.
For members, it’s an opportunity to proactively participate in the business meeting of their electric cooperative.
Horry Electric’s bylaws and South Carolina Code of Laws require a quorum—equal to 5 percent of the membership—in order to conduct an official business meeting. With a preliminary estimate of 54,676 members of Horry Electric on Annual Meeting Day, that means a minimum of 2,734 members must register. If that number is not met, business won’t be conducted.
Attendance records are expected to be broken at the new meeting location. More members means more traffic. Not wanting traffic concerns to discourage members from coming, the board of trustees removed the requirement that keeps people there until the last winning ticket is called in the prize drawing.
Effective in 2013, members no longer have to be present at the time of the prize drawing in order to win.
Each member who registers, in person, at the meeting during the designated hours for Registration, will not only qualify to get the Registration Gift, but will also be automatically entered into the prize drawing.
Winners, if they are not present, will be notified by phone the following day.
“We get a lot of questions from members when we start talking about our Annual Meeting of Members,” says Penelope Hinson, manager of public relations, marketing and energy management for Horry Electric. “Once the notices hit mailboxes, our call volume increases.”
“The questions from year-to-year are basically the same,” says Hinson, adding that responses to the questions are also the same.
The plans for the Annual Meeting of Members are all based on requirements of the Bylaws of Horry Electric Cooperative, Inc. and on South Carolina Code of Laws pertaining to electric cooperatives.
“It’s the plans we make related to acheiving the quorum requirement established by the South Carolina General Assembly that generate the most questions,” says Hinson. The same quorum requirement is stated in the Bylaws of the Cooperative.
SC Code, Section 33-49-430 states five percent of all members present in person shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business at all meetings of the members, unless the bylaws prescribe the presence of a greater percentage of the members for a quorum.
“As our CEO explained in his column in South Carolina Living this month, Horry Electric will need to have a minimum of 2,734 members registered this year,” says Hinson. Registering and voting on cooperative business matters in person is also a requirement of South Carolina Code of Laws. “We have to do something creative in order to attract that many people to a business meeting on a Tuesday night.”
Registration Gifts that are sure to appeal to a large number of people, entertainment and prize drawings for registered members that include a retired fleet vehicle as the GRAND PRIZE have proven to be successful methods for attracting large crowds.
“Registration Gifts can make or break an Annual Meeting of Members,” says Hinson. The year Horry Electric failed to meet the quorum requirement, the Registration Gift was an electric food chopper. “The electric bill credit is a huge hit with members,” says Hinson.
Why do we have an Annual Meeting?
It is a business meeting. The purpose is to update Members on matters concerning their Cooperative and to elect representatives to the board of trustees.
Who decides when we have the Annual Meeting?
Per our bylaws, the time and date are decided on by the board of trustees. Prior to the event this year, we had to work with the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on their available schedule.
At our new site, The HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University, the event will be on a more consistent schedule. From 2013 forward, it will be the first Tuesday in May following graduation at CCU. The date for the 2014 Annual Meeting of Members will be May 13, 2014.
Why all the gifts?
In order to conduct business, a quorum must be present at the Annual Meeting. The prize drawing and the registration gift are both intended to encourage Members to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting so the quorum requirement can be met.
Why advertise and send out notices about the Annual Meeting?
In order to conduct business, we must have a quorum. The notices and advertising remind Members that the meeting is coming up and encourages them to attend. This year, because we were moving to a new site, we increased our efforts to get the word out to members.
Why have it at Coastal Carolina University?
Coastal Carolina University is a central place for the majority of our membership. The location of the Convention Center prohibited a number of people in the county from attending the meeting. We surveyed members who did not attend the meeting to find out what kept them from attending. Two major issues were the time allowed for registration and the location of the meeting. We were able to adjust the hours of registration from 3 until 7 to noon until 7, but the location of the meeting remained an issue. We searched for other venues, but there just wasn’t anything that could accommodate an event as large as our Annual Meeting. The HTC Center has been our first and only viable option.
Why can’t I register for my Mother so she can get the electric bill credit when I go to the meeting to register and receive my own? She’s not able to attend the meeting this year because she’s sick in the hospital.
The Registration Gift is available only to Members who register, in person, at the Annual Meeting of Members between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. on the day of Annual Meeting. It’s a reward to the people who take the time to register and take part in the business meeting of their Cooperative.
My child is out of the country, but I have Power of Attorney to conduct business on their behalf. Can I register for them and get the $25 credited to their account?
Only if documentation of Power of Attorney can be provided and only if the document contains a notary statement that he or she witnessed the signer’s execution of the document or attest to the identity of the signer.
With a notarized Power of Attorney, the Cooperative can count the Member as present, give the Power of Attorney holder a voting ballot and give the $25 credit to the account.
- In the bylaws, Annual Meeting specifics are outlined in Article III, Meeting of Members.
- In SC Code, requirements are spelled out in Sections 33-49-420; 33-49-430 and 33-49-440.
RELATED STORY: A little Annual Meeting history
The May 2013 edition of South Carolina Living magazine is on its way to member mailboxes! Don’t forget, the Guide to Annual Meeting for members is featured as a special protective wrap for this month’s edition!
- CEO Column – The time has come; Annual Meeting just days away
- Horry News- Annual Meeting details
- Horry Electric Financial View
- Horry Electric Board of Trustees and Trustee District Map
- Horry Extra - A fond farewell/ Ready to lead, Carroll steps up – Mike Richardson retires after 30 years with HEC and Jason Carroll is named as successor
- Meet the candidates - Gore, Floyd and Anderson. incumbents for Districts 1, 5 and 7, respectively, are all running unopposed.
Read the Horry Electric content for May 2013 now!
Download and read the Member Guide to Annual Meeting
“We know they’re being delivered because we’ve started getting a few calls,” says Penelope Hinson, manager of public relations, marketing and energy management.
One phone call was from a member concerned about a typo on the postcard. “They just couldn’t believe we would be giving away a vehicle as old as a 1999 Ford Explorer,” Hinson says. “I assured them it wasn’t a typo.”
The vehicles used as the Grand Prize each year are retired from the Horry Electric fleet. “The vehicles we retire from the fleet are not up to the challenges that we put on them anymore, but they have enough life left in them for someone else to enjoy,” says Hinson.
“We’ve been using a retired fleet vehicle as a Grand Prize since the mid 80s,” explains Hinson. Other electric co-ops in South Carolina and all across the country do the same thing. ”It’s proven to help draw a big crowd to Annual Meeting,” says Hinson, adding the importance of drawing a crowd to acheive quorum so business can be conducted.
Horry Electric’s bylaws require a quorum – equal to 5 percent of the membership – in order to conduct an official business meeting. With a preliminary estimate of 54,676 members of Horry Electric on Annual Meeting Day, a minimum of 2,734 members must register at the Annual Meeting.
Members must register, in person, in order to be considered present for the business meeting and to be eligible to receive $25 electric bill credit, which is this year’s Registration Gift. “There are absolutely no exceptions to the requirement that members must register in person for the electric bill credit to their account.
Other than a new site for the event, the biggest change to the Annual Meeting is the removal of the restriction that members must be present at the time of the prize drawing in order to win. “Each member who registers, in person, at the meeting during the designated hours for Registration, will not only qualify to get the Registration Gift, but will also be automatically entered into the prize drawing,” says Hinson. “Winners, if they are not present, will be notified by phone the following day.”
The restriction that members had to be present at the time of the prize drawing was lifted by the board of trustees during early planning stages for the 2013 event. Attendance records are expected to be broken. Co-op officials did not want traffic concerns to discourage members from attending.
“They’re being mailed today,” says Danny Shelley, chief financial officer for Horry Electric Cooperative. “When they are delivered, members need to put their personal card in a safe place and then be sure to bring it with them to the Annual Meeting on May 14.”
Doors at the HTC Center at Coastal Carolina University will open for registration at noon. “Registration lines are expected to be long, but the process goes a lot faster and runs much more smoothly when members have their postcard and identification ready when they get to the front of the line,” says Shelley.
Each member who registers, in person, at the meeting during the designated hours for Registration, will not only qualify to get the Registration Gift, but they will also be automatically entered into the prize drawing. Effective this year, members no longer have to be present at the time of the prize drawing to win. Winners will be notified the following day.
Members do have to register, in person, in order to be eligible to receive the $25 electric bill credit, which is this year’s Registration Gift. “There are absolutely no exceptions to the requirement that members must register in person for the electric bill credit to their account,” says Shelley.
It wasn’t always in April/May and it used to be held under a big tent behind WLAT radio station
In May of 1972, the Annual Meeting of Members of Horry Electric was held for the first time at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The facility on Oak Street was a big change from the ‘big tent behind Radio Station WLAT on Highway 501 West of Conway’. The quorum requirement to conduct business was met that year, but the turnout was lower than expected. The turnout the following year (1973) was also disappointing. “We had a quorum,” wrote W.G. Sarvis in his message to members announcing the date, time and site of the 1974 event. “But our crowd was not as large as we had anticipated,” he further explained.Sarvis, who served as trustee representative from District 6, was also president of the board of trustees at the time. He and the other members of the board of trustees moved the date from May to October when scheduling and making plans for the 1974 Annual Meeting of Members. Their decision was based on the low turnout in 1972 and 1973 and feedback from the membership.
Between 1974 and 1999, the Annual Meeting of Members was held in the Fall. The exact date was always dependent on the schedule for the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. After three consecutive years of having to cancel Annual Meeting due to hurricanes, the membership and board voted to move the Annual Meeting from Fall back to Spring.
“Our first Spring Annual Meeting was held on May 9, 2000,” says James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of the Cooperative. “Since then, the dates scheduled for Annual Meeting have bounced around and have been as late as May 22 in 2007 and then as early as April 3 in 2012.” Because the date was dependent on other events scheduled at the Convention Center, there was no consistency with the date for Annual Meeting.
“Our move to our new venue solves the scheduling problem we’ve had,” says Howle. “Coastal Carolina has reserved the first Tuesday in May following graduation for the Annual Meeting of Members of Horry Electric for the next ten years.” The date for the 2014 Annual Meeting of Members will be May 13, 2014.