PPCS POWERS ON
Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services' 84th Annual Meeting Highlights
There was a new twist on Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services' (PPCS) 84th annual meeting on March 27, 2021. PPCS hosted a drive-in event at the parking lot of the former Shopko store in Ellsworth, Wis. The meeting was broadcast by WRDN Radio out of Durand, Wis., and live-streamed on YouTube. More than 114 members and guests attended. Roger Wiff, board chairman, presided over the meeting.
The theme Power On was reflected throughout the meeting in the director candidates' speeches, the reports, and presentations. Re-elected to the board were incumbent directors Roger Wiff, district 7; Brian Bergseng, district 8; and Daniel Reis, district 9. These directors ran unopposed.
Board Secretary/Treasurer Ginny Huber presented the proposed bylaw amendments. The first proposed amendment allowed the board of directors to make modifications to an annual meeting date and location due to unforeseen or special circumstances. The second proposed amendment updated language for consistency with Wisconsin state statutes. The third amendment modified meeting language to allow for additional ways to hold meetings electronically.
Abby Williamson, auditor for Carlson SV, reported on the financial condition of the cooperative for the year ended December 31, 2020. The cooperative again received an unqualified report from the auditors, the highest level available.
Chairman Wiff began his report by introducing Nate Boettcher, PPCS' new president and CEO as of October 2019. Due to the pandemic, this annual meeting was the first time Boettcher spoke before the membership.
Wiff referred to the changes everyone faced over the last year due to the pandemic. He affirmed that the cooperative's commitment to its members has not changed. He encouraged members to participate in the SHIFT for Savings program. Shifting the times of energy use can lower the amount the cooperative pays for wholesale power, ultimately helping everyone. Wiff discussed the cooperative's stance on renewable energy, noting that Dairyland Power Cooperative has one of the highest renewable energy mixes in Wisconsin. Finally, he encouraged members to take the cooperative's Chevy Bolt electric vehicle for a test drive.
President/CEO Nate Boettcher began his report by recognizing how difficult the past year has been dealing with the pandemic. Employee safety has been a top priority to ensure that PPCS could continue to provide reliable power.
Boettcher noted that one of the most pressing issues for residents in our area is the lack of broadband. PPCS will continue to explore opportunities to bring broadband to our area. Over the past year, the cooperative has also formulated an electric vehicle strategy and invested along with 28 other cooperatives in the CHARGE EV initiative. In 2020, PPCS employees worked together to make improvements to the cooperative's campus and building, which is now 60 years old.
Boettcher also encouraged members to participate in the SHIFT for Savings program to help flatten rates. He noted that the demand component accounts for 33% of the cooperative's wholesale power costs. The cooperative has increased its communication efforts over the past year through social media, print media and podcasts. Boettcher promised that the cooperative would continue to maintain transparency with members through all available communication channels.
The annual meeting recording can be viewed at https://youtu.be/nGHkLvHplzg.