Annual meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

By John Howell Sr.

Recent declines in crude oil and gasoline prices will not have an impact on the fuel surcharge that customers of Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association customers see on their electric bill every month, TVEPA CFO Jim Vinson said Friday at the annual meeting of the rural electric cooperative that provides power for Batesville and portions of nine counties that surround it.

But declines in prices of natural gas and coal would be “reflected in a decrease in the generation surcharge” levied by by the Tennessee Valley Authority and passed on to the consumer through TVEPA, Vinson said.

Vinson spoke prior to the re-election of TVEPA board members Harry B. House, Robert L. Chapman and Linda Ingram whose terms were expiring. No other nominations came from the floor, and the three were accepted by acclamation.

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As a cooperative, TVEPA is owned by its members and meets annually to elect three members to its nine-member board of directors and to conduct other business. The meeting usually attracts current and retired employees of the cooperative, representatives from TVA and a sprinkling from the public.

Annette Morris of Yalobusha County posed, with a comment, another question to CFO Vinson: “I hope we don’t go to smart meters,” she said.

“We’re looking into that, I won’t lie to you,” Vinson replied. “The smart metering has got a lot of benefits. It does a lot more than just read the meters; it can provide us a lot of information about the load, about what we need to do to make the distribution better.” Vinson said.

Morris said that she had reservations about the amount of information that is shared by smart meters.

“Unless you choose to have peripheral devices attached to it — which means … your thermostat or something inside your house — it’s really going to stop at the meter reading level as far as residential consumers are concerned. It’s only going to read what you use, which is what we do now,” Vinson said.

Smart metering benefits would include detection of voltage fluctuations within services lines and assurance of fewer service interruptions, the CFO said.

Vinson, during his financial report, said that the TVEPA system includes 27,129 meters.
“That’s fairly flat growth for us,” he said, “for probably the second year. … We have not experienced a lot of growth over the past 12 months.”

The system maintains 4,456 miles of lines for electricity distribution, up 17 miles from 2010. TVEPA averages 6.09 people per service mile in the service area which includes portions of nine counties.

“TVA would consider that is still a very rural system as far as an electric utility is concerned,” Vinson said.

TVEPA’s physical assets are valued at $103 million, up $6,229,000 from 2010, “mostly due to the east Batesville substation that was completed … to serve the GE plant.”

“We did all of that basically with funds on hand,” the CFO said.

Other highlights of the financial report:
•TVEPA paid TVA $53,368,000 for electricity. “That is approximately 80 cents of every dollar we spent,” Vinson said.
•TVEPA’s net income was $4.2 million, up slightly for the year;
•Residential sales comprise 52 percent of the cooperative’s revenue; 7.8 percent comes from sale of electricity to small commercial customers and 37 percent comes from sales to large commercial customers, Vinson said.

TVEPA Manager Brad Robison said that utility will continue its involvement in economic development, politics and the environment.

“We want to be good stewards of the environment, but we must also look for the best and most efficient ways to provide the electricity. We must determine how we can find the balance between environmental concerns and maintaining an affordable source of power,” Robison said.
Board of Directors president Will Hays presided during the 2011 annual meeting. TVEPA’s director, in addition to Hays and the three re-elected Friday, include Lamar Crockett of Senatobia, Charles Davis of Cascilla, Gene Standridge of Tillatoba, Pate Brown Jr. of Cascilla and Jeff Herron of Batesville.