Manager’s Report for Annual Meeting of Members

August 9, 2016

 

It is my honor as the General Manager of Alcorn County Electric Power Association to present the Annual Report of the Association to the membership for the 21st time in ACE’s illustrious 82-year history as directed by your Board of Directors.

I am proud to report that your Electric Cooperative had an outstanding year in keeping the power on, holding rates low and maintaining a growth program in technology, facilities, and customer service.

At the beginning of the fiscal year your Association and all of the distributors served by TVA agreed to update our rules and regulations to be approved by TVA. TVA is and has been the regulator of all of the distributors that it serves since 1933. The ACE Board and TVA have approved all of our rules and regulations. Any complaints that ACE cannot satisfy in the future should be relayed to TVA for solution. Contact TVA at www.tva.com/complaintresolution, email complaintresolution@tva.gov or call 1-888-289-8409.

Another major event was successfully settled during this year’s session of the Mississippi Legislature. The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi Law was debated and successfully amended with specific language that explained how the legislature intended for the bill to be interpreted. The bill specifically explained that the TVA Cooperatives rules, regulations, and rates are to be approved and enforced by TVA and our Boards of Directors.

Service! The reason that ACE was created in 1934 and the reason that ACE is such a necessity for each and everyone’s economic survival in today’s world. Your electric cooperative has grown into an organization that consistently keeps your power on 99.999% of the time. When you do have an interruption in your electric service, ACE’s highly skilled and efficient employees repair the damage to our electrical system and you are not inconvenienced for any extremely long period of time. ACE realizes that electric service has become a necessity of life and no longer a luxury as it was in its beginnings.  We are doing everything electrically possible and tree trimming possible to keep the power on in order to keep our members happy. However, please always remember acts of God can do catastrophic damage to our system in the blink of an eye.

In June 1980, I accepted a job to come to Alcorn County Electric Power Association as its Assistant General Manager and Manager of Engineering. Shortly after my arrival at ACE, General Manager Charles Barnett promoted Don Rinehart, Foreman, to the position of Operating Superintendent. Charles Barnett had a dream and that dream was to see ACE become not only the “First Rural Electric Cooperative in America” but also the “BEST”. I don’t think that Charles ever dreamed of all the technological advances that we would have to make for this dream to come true, but Charles gave Don Rinehart and I an official order. That order was for us to do our best to get along and for me to design and Don to build a completely up to date electrical system for ACE. Don and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic and overwhelmed. If only Mr. Barnett could see it now! His 1980 dream has come true along with so very much more! In 1980, TVA only had one line feeding Corinth. Today, TVA has three lines feeding Corinth and another on the drawing board for the near future. ACE now owns 8 substations so that we can move load around in case of trouble on the system. The entire electrical system in the City of Corinth has been rebuilt, which included the conversion of the downtown area from a 4kV system to a 12kV system that was just completed this summer. Hundreds of miles of three phase lines have been built or re-built all over Alcorn County, and this past year was no different than the past 36 that I have experienced at ACE. This type of never-ending construction program coupled with an aggressive tree trimming and right-of-way clearing program are the reason that the power stays on 99.999% of the time and ACE’s losses are held to a minimum. Thus, the Members’ rates are held as low as possible and ACE employees along with the public are safe.

ACE was created over 82 years ago by some innovative individuals in Alcorn County, Mississippi who believed that a not-for-profit Electric Cooperative could borrow the money from the new TVA to buy Mississippi Power Company’s facilities in Corinth. These men knew that Mississippi Power, a for-profit company, would never serve the rural individuals. The “Corinth Experiment” was the creation of Alcorn County Electric Power Association on January 17, 1934. Thus, Alcorn County, Mississippi is known as home of the “First Rural Electric Cooperative” in America. Pride!

“Service” and “Pride”! As I have reminisced about my career at ACE and about ACE’s illustrious history, it is obvious that ACE would not have succeeded without the leaders who were willing to donate their time and vast knowledge to serve as “ Board Members of ACE”. I personally want to extend the membership’s deepest gratitude for the “Board Members” leadership and guidance that they have always given for ACE’s success. I also want to especially thank Christy Hinton, Administrative Assistant, for the tremendous job she does in keeping the General Manager and Board of Directors focused on the important issues that ACE has to complete to serve the people of Alcorn County.

Just as I discussed ACE’s Engineering and Operations additions to ACE’s infrastructure during this past year. Your Board of Directors approved the construction of a new shop to be located just south of ACE’s Warehouse on the ACE campus. This new truck shop facility is replacing one that had been constructed in the mid 1960’s. The new facility is designed to handle all of the enormous equipment that did not exist when our old shop was constructed. The new facility is staffed with trained mechanics and state-of-the-art equipment. Our mechanics are trained to handle our regular maintenance of ACE’s fleet as well as almost any other type of breakdown. The new facility is scheduled to begin operation in August 2016.

As the Engineering and Operations Departments are managed by Jason Grisham and assisted by Paul McNair, they are still installing poles and stringing wire like they have for years. But, the biggest change today is the use of computers in all aspects of our jobs. With our computerized mapping system and computerized warehouse material and our engineering department’s drawings the ACE Accounting Department is capable of having an instant accounting on our work. Thus, our inventory is managed more efficiently and our costs are held to a minimum.

ACE’s state-of-the-art metering system in conjunction with our fiber optic backbone system allows your cooperative’s communication system to provide timely data for ACE’s customer service personnel and engineering personnel to help our customers understand any questions concerning their electrical service. Another outstanding program that this technology has created for our customers is the Pre-Pay Metering Program. Today there are approximately 1,750 customers using the PayWise Program, where they pay no deposit and the disconnects are very minimal. The consumers on the PayWise Program have learned how to keep their meter on just like they keep gas in their car. It is ACE’s opinion that this program has become the most customer friendly and customer conservation knowledgeable that we have ever had.

Eddie Howard, ACE’s CFO, and his assistant, Sean McGrath, did an admiral job managing ACE’s gross electric plant of $86.1 Million, long-term debt of $3 Million, and total assets and other debits of $76.2 Million during this past year. They did this while also managing ACE’s superb Accounting and Customer Service Personnel who are trained to be prepared to try to assist any of our 19,000 customers on any workday. ACE’s IT Department also is mainly tied with this group, however ACE Computer Systems are growing by the years in every department of the company.

It is obvious from this report that ACE is continuing to grow in a prideful manner and has never lost any of its main purpose of service to its Membership. Always be thankful that ACE has been blessed to have such dedicated and caring men to be willing to donate their time to serve as Board Members. I will always thank God that he allowed me to work for such fine men and to have had a small part in the history of “America’s First Rural Electric Cooperative”. MAY GOD BLESS “ALCORN COUNTY ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION”.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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James D. Nanney, Jr.