What is the annual meeting?
NWEC is a cooperative, meaning that we are different from other utilities because we are owned by the people who use our electric service, not outside investors or shareholders. As a member-owner of the cooperative, you have the right to vote on bylaw changes and to elect trustees that will serve on the board. Once a year, a meeting is held for the general purpose of sharing NWEC’s management and Board of Trustees’ reports regarding the general economic condition of the cooperative and
reporting the results of the election.
Do you have to attend?
No, you do not have to attend the annual meeting. Your membership will not be affected one way or the other. Every member-owner of the cooperative is welcome to attend if they choose to do so.
Who decides when, where, and what kind of meeting will be held?
The Board of Trustees is made up of seven member-owners of the cooperative who represent the seven districts in our service territory. The cooperative bylaws, referred to as the Code of Regulations, assigns the responsibility of making adequate preparations for the annual meeting to the Board of Trustees. This also includes choosing the method (or methods) of voting that will be used for the election.
Those decisions are only made after considering many factors. As representatives for the nearly 6,000 member-owners, the Board must take into consideration the feedback that they receive throughout the prior year; the amount of attendance at past annual meetings; the cost of the meeting; and the requirements as laid out in
the bylaws. In the past several years, the Board also had to consider public health mandates, in relation to the safety and well-being of those attending and those who would be working at the event, as well as the availability of services.
Scheduling the date for the meeting has to happen in early fall of the year prior. Similar to a “domino effect,” the date of the meeting determines other important dates, such as when nomination petitions will be due, when notifications of the meeting and election must be received by the member-owners, and when documents must be prepared. Once this type of “domino effect” is in motion, it is time-consuming and costly to reroute any part of its path. Booking a venue, a caterer, and an audio company, plus ordering gifts, is all relevant to the date too.
The days of holding a formal meeting where everyone brought the whole family in their “Sunday best” attire and listened to lengthy speeches are long gone. Our member-owners all have busy lives now — sporting events, kid’s programs, work schedules, family obligations — and these all take priority over attending a meeting for your electric company for most people. But the Board of Trustees wants to make it easy for as many member-owners as possible to participate in the annual meeting.
The 2023 annual meeting
We will be holding an in-person annual meeting again in 2023. Some parts of it will be a little different from our previous in-person meetings. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 15 at Edon Northwest School. The doors will open at 3 p.m., and the business meeting will begin promptly at 5 p.m.
Member-owners will be given the opportunity to vote prior to the meeting date using a link available in their SmartHub app, the same as the past two years. For those who do not want to cast their vote electronically, you can come to the school on April 15 anytime between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to cast your vote in person. Paper ballots and a secure ballot box will be available during that time frame only. At 5 p.m., when the business meeting begins, the voting will be closed, and all the votes will be tallied by our cooperative attorney and any member-owners who volunteer to help.
Also, during the 3–5 p.m. timeframe, we welcome you to visit the booths in the gym and enjoy a sandwich meal. This will be set up in an “open house” format, so feel free to attend anytime between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. You do not have to stay the entire time, unless you choose to. You can grab a sandwich, visit our booths, cast your vote, and then leave if you want. For those who choose to stay for the business meeting, it will begin promptly at 5 p.m. and all other activities will stop. You are welcome to join us in the main gym to hear reports from Chairman of the Board Chris Oberlin, CEO/President Darin Thorp, and a representative from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. Before the meeting is adjourned, the election results will be announced.
Even if you vote online, you are still welcome to attend the business meeting on April 15. All member-owners who participate in the annual meeting by casting their vote online will receive a bill credit. Those who choose to participate by voting in person on April 15 will be given a gift at the door on that day. If you voted online but also want to attend the business meeting, you will only receive the bill credit, not the gift at the door.
Your Board of Trustees has planned this event with the entire membership in mind. They encourage everyone to take part in the annual meeting, either by casting your vote through your secure SmartHub app or by dropping your paper ballot in the box on April 15. We will be sharing more information, such as the list of candidates, as it becomes available and we get closer to April.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more information.