Duncan’s Digest – Retirement Announcement and 2021 “Just Business” Annual Meeting
After 42 years at SECO Energy, I have formally announced my plan to retire as CEO in January 2022. I began my career with SECO in 1979 as the Director of Accounting and Finance. At that time, the cooperative was known as Sumter Electric Cooperative, and the meter count was just 37,000.
Growth in Central Florida took off, and when I was promoted to CEO in 1990, the meter count had almost doubled to 66,000 homes and businesses. We reached the 100,000-meter count milestone in 1999 and the 200,000-meter count milestone in 2017.
Without question, much has changed over my three decades as CEO. We have dramatically improved members’ service reliability through increased investments in our electric infrastructure and a strengthened vegetation management program. At the end of 2020, our meter count reached 216,477. Our total investment in our electric facilities is approaching the $1 billion mark at $955.6 million.
We’ve celebrated customer satisfaction wins in recent years, too. Some of my proudest moments as CEO came when SECO Energy won coveted J.D. Power awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017 when our satisfaction scores topped all utilities in the nation. In 2020, we upheld our position as an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) frontrunner in Florida and nationally with a score of 91.
Most important, I am honored to work with the best employees in the energy industry. SECO employees are world-class representatives of the cooperative purpose who provide exceptional customer service to our members. When I retire, it’s the great employees of this company I will miss the most.
My wife Connie and I have been married for 53 years. We are looking forward to spending more time traveling, scuba diving and relaxing on the water. We’re excited to spend more of our free time with our two sons and three grandchildren as well. Though the timing of my retirement was an emotional and difficult decision, I know it is the right time to take the next steps to focus on fun and family.
I hope you will tune in to watch our 83rd Annual Meeting’s live virtual webcast on Thursday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m. This will be my final address to the membership. The Meeting this year is a no-frills, virtual Annual Business Meeting that is themed “Just Business.” In our continued COVID-cautious environment, we encourage you to watch our virtual webcast from the comfort and safety of your home. The link to the live webcast will be posted on our homepage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Though we are not hosting the big onsite party, we have 100 Annual Meeting prizes up for grabs. Members who vote on Annual Meeting business (a Bylaws Revision and last year’s minutes) are eligible to win a prize. The grand prizes are a 2011 refurbished GMC Canyon 4×4 extended cab truck, a golf cart and four $1,000 cash prizes. Other prizes include air fryers, tool sets, Ring doorbells, NEST thermostats, SECO bill credits and more. All members who vote on the Bylaws Revision and the 2020 Annual Meeting Minutes are eligible to win. Learn more about Annual Meeting voting and review the list of prizes on pages four and five.
I know the next ten months will fly by quickly, and I want to emphasize how thankful I am for the privilege of working for this great organization for 42 years.
Advice from The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Ripe, refreshing summer fruits and vegetables are planted in spring gardens. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Florida falls in Area 1 based on the potential frost and cold period. There is still plenty of time to get seeds in the ground. Plant beans, sweet corn, muskmelons, squashes and watermelons beginning March 15. Be sure to plant cucumbers, eggplant, leeks and sweet potatoes by mid-April. If you like okra, wait until April 15 to plant. Above-ground crops should be planted March 21 – 23 or April 18 – 19. The best days for planting below-ground crops are March 3 – 4 and 30 – 31 and April 8 – 9.
Florida Special Needs Registry
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has developed the Florida Special Needs Registry. Before Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, if you or a family member has a special need, add your name to the registry.
The Florida Special Needs Registry allows residents with special needs to subscribe to their county’s emergency management agency to receive assistance and alerts during a disaster. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.
The Special Needs Registry may help save your life. Visit the Florida Disaster website or snr.FLhealthresponse.com to locate your county and register.
If someone in your home depends on life-sustaining medical equipment that operates on electricity, make arrangements in advance for an emergency alternative power source. If you are considering installing a generator, go to our Safety page to view our video on generators.
EV Charger Winner
Fred Zesewitz from Eustis is the February winner of a SECO Energy branded JuiceBox Pro 40 EV Level 2 charger. We’re giving one charger away each month while supplies last. To enter, text “EV” to (352) 320-4500 for a link to enter. Or click on the EV Charger Giveaway homepage banner.
Learn more about the benefits of electric vehicle ownership on our EV website pages. You’ll find an EV savings calculator, information about CO2 reduction, an EV and PHEV model finder and a nationwide charger-finder map. Visit our Electric Vehicles page for more details.
Watch SECO News for next month’s charger winner.
“Just Business” 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting
Tune in virtually for SECO Energy’s 2021 Annual “Just Business” Meeting on Thursday, March 25. The Annual Business Meeting online webcast begins at 4:30 p.m. To access, click on the 2021 Virtual Annual Just Business Meeting banner at SECOEnergy.com. Links to the webcast will also be published on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Given the continuing COVID-cautious environment, we do not encourage in-person attendance and are unable to accommodate food service, shuttle service, onsite prize distribution and other activities of previous years. The good news is that members do not have to attend the meeting to vote and be entered in the prize drawing.
Ways to Vote
To vote electronically, visit our homepage and click on the VOTE banner. You can also text “VOTE” to (352) 320-2200 and follow the link provided.
To vote by mail, complete the ballot included in the Official Annual Meeting Notice enclosed in your February or March billing statement. Enclose with your electric bill payment or mail completed ballot to: SECO Energy, P.O. Box 301, Sumterville, FL 33585 by Tuesday, March 23 at 5:00 p.m.
To vote by phone, reach out to Member Services at (352) 793-3801 during regular business hours and an agent will assist you in casting your vote.
To vote in person, visit one of our five Member Service Centers to view a paper copy of the Bylaws Revision and last year’s minutes. We’ll help you cast your vote when you’re ready.
View the full list of 100 Annual Meeting prizes up for grabs. All members who vote on 2021 Annual Meeting business are eligible to win.
Go Green and Win
Go Green in 2021 to be eligible to win a prize. Help SECO reduce billing and paper costs and you could win a $200 bill credit, a NEST thermostat or an Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa. We’ll draw three winners each month whose account meets the three account eligibility criteria:
. registered through SmartHub
. opted out of paper billing statements
. enrolled in automatic bank draft
If you have more than one account that meets the three criteria, each account is eligible to be drawn as a winner.
You can enroll in bank draft and select paperless billing through SmartHub. Members who aren’t as tech savvy or do not have a smartphone or tablet can reach out to Member Services by phone for enrollment assistance.
We’ll choose three winners each month through 2021. GOOD LUCK!
Have you engaged with our virtual assistant Electra who can answer thousands of calls without missing a beat? Ask Electra for assistance instead of waiting to speak with a representative. Each week, we’ll draw one winner who will receive a $25 gift card. Winners are drawn from all members who called and successfully took care of business with Electra.
JANUARY’S WINNERS ARE:
Alma Cook from Lake Panasoffkee
Ron Lyle from Ocala
Raymond Clark from Deland
Susan Scarano from Floral City
Congratulations to our three February winners in our Go Green and Win: Paperless Billing and Bank Draft member incentive.
Linda Lauletta from Mascotte is the winner of a $200 SECO Energy bill credit.
Jerry Johnson from Ocala is the winner of a NEST thermostat.
Nancy Marty from Leesburg is the winner of an Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa.
Read Winners’ Circle next month for more winners. Congratulations, winners!
Attention high school seniors interested in a career in the energy industry, SECO Energy’s Board of Trustees has approved $36,000 in scholarship funds for 12 awardees to receive $3,000 each. Completed applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 26.
Student Eligibility Requirements:
• reside in a home served by SECO Energy
• interested in a career in the energy industry
• graduating in the current school year (2021)
• enrolled full-time in an accredited Florida college, university, vocational/technical school by the end of 2021
• pursuing a degree or certification in technology, engineering, math or business
An independent panel of educators from SECO’s service area evaluates all applications and selects each year’s winners. Print an application by visiting our Scholarships page or pick one up from a school guidance counselor.
Read the full March 2021 SECO News online.