Manager’s Message — July 2021
2021 Annual Meeting Update
Dear Co-op Community Members:
It is hard to believe it’s July and we are halfway through this unusual year. I am excited to see the progress we have made in our community toward reopening.
On May 24, Lane Electric held its annual meeting virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. Directors, staff, and members met via Zoom to get updates on the happenings at Lane Electric. Did you miss this year’s meeting? While it would be difficult to cover all aspects, I want to share some highlights and topics covered.
We are financially healthy, despite many obstacles: the 2019 snowstorm, the pandemic, the wind, and the wildfires.
Our Federal Emergency Management Agency grants of about $3.7 million were approved. This allows us to pay down debt incurred to repair snowstorm damage. A huge thank you to Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for their continued support of FEMA grants.
So far this year, we are meeting our financial objectives!
McKenzie River Area Fire & Rebuilding
On September 7, 2020, the McKenzie River area was devastated by a wildfire. We were recently named in a lawsuit and are providing our full cooperation as the investigation continues.
The U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry are conducting the investigation, and a timeline has not been set for its completion.
We want to rebuild a system stronger than before. We are developing plans to submit to FEMA for grants that would allow us to put overhead lines underground. We hope we can coordinate with phone and internet providers to bury their facilities as well.
System Resilience & Reliability
While we work to underground more areas of our system, we are proud of our progress. Right now, 52.9% of our distribution system is underground. This is uncommon for a rural utility.
This year, our board of directors authorized $5.7 million to put overhead lines underground. The total cost without grant funding is $16.5 million. We are thankful for how much we can accomplish on a quicker timeline with these grants!
Safety is key. Employees reached another milestone: We have had two calendar years without a lost-time accident. This is a wonderful achievement, and I am very proud of our employees.
If we missed you at the annual meeting this year, we hope to see you next year! If you were able to attend our virtual meeting, thank you. I am proud of our employees for their service to our community and would like to thank our board of directors for providing the resources needed to provide the best service possible. Stay safe and have a wonderful summer!