Manager Connection: Annual Review of the Co-op

General Manager Syd Briggs

Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric is making final preparations for welcoming member-owners and their guests to the co-op’s 88th annual meeting Tuesday, June 4, with the doors opening at 9 a.m., and the meeting starting promptly at 10:30 a.m.

The purpose of the annual meeting is to provide information and report on last year’s activities, and to announce the three directors elected for a three-year term. With the bylaw changes approved by members at last year’s annual meeting, this year’s election is by mail-in ballot only. Members would have received their ballots in late April and need to have that ballot received in the post office box of Survey & Ballot Systems by 10 a.m., Friday, May 31, in order to be counted. 

Steele-Waseca is providing the co-op’s audited financials in this edition of Sparks, as we do each year, and need to address these reports along with approving last year’s minutes.

There isn’t any preregistration or call in before the meeting. Steele-Waseca is mailing registration cards that are bar coded specifically for each member.

Please bring these cards with you to be scanned at registration. You should be receiving these registration cards in the mail approximately 10 days prior to the meeting. Do not mail these in; just bring them with you to the meeting on Tuesday, June 4.

At the annual meeting, Steele-Waseca will be collecting non-perishable food items and donations for a local food shelf. For those wishing to donate, they will receive (1) free LED lightbulb in appreciation of their donation.

Steele-Waseca’s 2024 Youth Tour Delegate Langston Richter will be introduced as he prepares to join 33 other students and six chaperones in Minnesota’s delegation heading out, June 18, to Washington, D.C. They will be among 1,900 other delegates from across the country participating in the Youth Tour.

Steele-Waseca employees were introduced to attendees at the annual meeting last year (above photo). Similar plans are in place for the annual meeting Tuesday, June 4, at the co-op’s headquarters in Owatonna.

Also returning this year is the great meal served by Hy-Vee and the always popular Dairy Queen Dilly® Bars.

Financially, Steele-Waseca had another very good year. Our average number of meters grew from 11,795 in 2022 to 11,902 in 2023, and we experienced an excellent increase in energy sales of 13.4%.

Our operating expenses can vary greatly from year to year due to storm activity and different expense cycles in our long-range planning. This year’s operating expenses increased 9.05%, however, our four-year average is under a 2% average increase per year.

Equity increased $3.6 million, and long-term debt increased $3.2 million.

In addition, to the primary purpose in an annual meeting of announcing the election results for the leadership of our board of directors, and providing our annual reports, we will have an opportunity to introduce all employees and directors to the membership.

For many of you, it will be another chance to reminisce with the people you have been doing business with for many years.

Changes continue to evolve in the electric industry, and I look forward to providing a brief update along with how it impacts Steele-Waseca and member-owners like you.

Each member who is in attendance to present their pre-mailed registration card, or register, will receive Steele-Waseca promotional products, the $30 Power Perks to be used at local businesses, and the $50 Energy Star® gift certificate.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing each of you again. If you have questions about our financials, the changes to our election process, or any business at all, please feel free to contact me.