SECO Energy held its 81st Annual Meeting of the Membership on Saturday, March 23, 2019, drawing a crowd of nearly 5,000 members, guests, VIPs and employees.
The theme of this year’s meeting – “Feeding the Cooperative Spirit” – was also a mission. SECO spread the word that local food pantries are experiencing critical shortages limiting their ability to assist residents. SECO partnered with United Way and food pantries to conduct a food drive at this year’s meeting. Hundreds of members donated non-perishable food items that will be delivered to food banks later this week.
Members and guests were treated to breakfast, snacks, live entertainment by Margo Rochelle & Rodeo Drive Band, energy-efficiency displays, gifts, the chance to win door prizes and more. All registered members received a SECO gift, an LED from SECO’s wholesale provider Seminole Electric, a copy of the cooperative’s 2018 Annual Report and additional giveaways.
SECO Energy’s Board President and District 9 Trustee Jerry Hatfield called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m. During the President’s Report, Hatfield explained the cooperative business model and benefits of being served by a not-for-profit electric utility. Hatfield also encouraged members to enroll in SECO’s Pennies from Heaven program. Hatfield stated, “Please help us support SECO’s great community outreach program Pennies from Heaven. SECO will round up your bill to the nearest dollar to help members in need of assistance and to support other local, worthy causes.”
CEO Jim Duncan took the stage for the CEO Report. Duncan led the crowd in a rousing military tribute and provided a cooperative business update that highlighted SECO’s continued growth, member satisfaction scores and system improvement projects.
Duncan overviewed current and future issues impacting Florida energy consumers. He spoke about SECO’s wholesale power provider Seminole Electric Cooperative and meeting future power needs. Duncan stated, “As SECO grows, our wholesale power provider Seminole Electric Cooperative must also keep up with our power demand. Seminole is removing one coal-fired unit and replacing it with a state-of-the-art natural gas fired unit that will come online in 2023. Seminole has finalized a deal to add 40 megawatts of solar to its mix and is considering the addition of another 300 megawatts of solar.”
Duncan continued, “These moves are environmentally friendly and provide a stable power supply for years to come.” Duncan explained the Board-recommended Articles of Incorporation amendment and Bylaws revision. Cooperative Attorney Lewis Stone led the voting process for the amendment and revision. Members voted overwhelmingly to accept both measures.
After the member votes, Hatfield concluded the meeting and the grand prize and door prize drawings began. U.S. Congressman Daniel Webster who serves Florida’s 11th District joined SECO on stage to draw the first grand prize winning ticket. Robert Morrill of The Villages won the gas-powered golf cart; Arnold A. Gomke of Tavares took home the 2009 Ford SuperCab 4×4; $1,500 in cash went to Robert James of Ocklawaha; Carolyn Hadley of Bushnell won the $1,000 cash prize and both Nancy Burgess of Summerfield and Phyllis Mullin of Ocala won $500.