Manager’ Report for Annual Meeting of Members
August 5, 2014
80 Years!!! Yes, Alcorn County Electric Power Association has reached another milestone in its illustrious history. We celebrated our 80th birthday on January 17, 2014, and today we celebrate the 80th Annual Meeting of America’s First Rural Electric Cooperative.
Successful? You bet! ACE Power was successful in its first year of business and it has continued to be recognized through its 80 years of existence in the national and regional Electric Cooperative Movement, TVA, and the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. ACE’s secret to success has truly been blessed by the hand of God in the outstanding men that have been led to form ACE for the people of Alcorn County, and the dedicated men and women that the boards and managements have been able to hire for the last 80 years.
As the present General Manager of ACE, I can tell you that your Board of Directors only accepts that your Association does its best to try to provide all members with the best possible service that we possibly can. I can personally promise to all members that the service that ACE provides today is tremendously more reliable and safer that it was when I began my career with ACE in 1980.
Today’s service is also drastically advanced in the knowledge we have as well as the information we can provide to our members. Yes, we keep the power on today approximately 99.999% of the time and we can help our members determine exactly when their times of high usage are occurring. ACE Power exists for one reason and one reason only. “That reason is to serve the people”. Yes, the price of energy has gone up and will continue to do so, but I do not believe that there is anything you buy that gives you more than “Electricity”.
ACE employees are always there to help the people and we are there when the power goes out. We are there to help with programs like PayWise, which is a prepay system that requires no deposit. This program has been very successful as we now have over 1,000 members utilizing it. ACE employees are also continually serving new customers and rebuilding our electric system to keep it at the cutting edge of technology. We also are constantly maintaining our complete system by right-of-way clearing to keep your lights from blinking or going completely out. Electricity today is a necessity, not a luxury, and without right-of-way clearing from power lines ACE cannot keep your lights or your neighbors’ lights on!
This past fiscal year has been totally different from the previous fiscal year, yet, both years tended to end with similar results. The previous fiscal year consisted of a normally hot summer and a moderately cold winter, but this fiscal year began with a very mild summer and TVA was predicting a mild winter. Small winter sales were predicted and TVA was not prepared for what happened. Near the end of January we began to experience some of the coldest weather that our part of the country had experienced in many years. Meteorologists called it a “polar vortex” that was totally unexpected to happen. The main problem was the American Utilities weren’t ready for this anomaly and many generation and transmission utilities struggled to keep the power on. TVA was only able to keep the power in our part of the country with the help of our industries lowering their loads. This event was a wake-up call to America’s Electric Industry to never relax our guard on America’s electric grid.
As I mentioned earlier in this report, electricity is no longer a luxury and it is everyone’s duty to be helpful in maintaining our “Bulk Electric Grid”. On the local level, ACE’s Engineering and Operations Departments worked extremely hard this past year to install fiber optic cable to all of ACE’s substations. This new technology and computer systems will help us to better operate ACE’s electric system. Along with ACE’s metering system and SCADA system, ACE has some of the most advanced technology used today in the electrical world.
Some other important knowledge or more acceptance of reality that all ACE employees came to terms with this year was the terrible tornado that Tupelo and Lee County experienced in April. After spending a week helping our close neighbors recover from this tragedy we all became more acceptable that this could just as easily have been us, and we always have to be prepared for the worse. The worse is the possible loss of life, which thank God that Tupelo was spared, but the cost to repair the electrical system from this event was approximately $7.5 million and no substation was damaged. If a substation had of been damaged another $5 million could easily have been needed. Realities of rainy day funds are a necessity.
Your Engineering and Operating Departments again preformed admirably this year at home and when providing assistance to our fellow systems in times of need. The members of ACE can rest assured that we are blessed with a state of the art electrical system that is operated by tremendously skilled and experienced individuals. On the financial side of ACE’s business, your Cooperative continued to grow and is now a $73.7 million company with only $4.4 million of debt. These are outstanding financials for a rural electric cooperative.
As I mentioned previously in this report, the ACE’s Accounting Departments new prepay metering system called “PayWise” has been a tremendous success. Due to its growth we are in the process of having a kiosk installed in the Sprint-Mart at the intersection of Highway 72 and Highway 45, which will be available 24 hours a day to receive any type of payment on your electric bill. This will hopefully alleviate some of the long lines that can be experienced at the ACE office.
The ACE employees appreciate their jobs and they are all aware that our jobs are for one reason only and that is “SERVICE”. Our members may not always get the answer they want from an ACE employee, but we will always try our best to provide the reasons why. Your ACE Board of Directors establishes the policies for your cooperative and they have always charged the management to carry them out. The management of ACE has put together a dedicated team of employees to make sure ACE is the “BEST” and not just the “FIRST” Rural Electric Cooperative in America.
James D. Nanney, Jr.