LPEA celebrates 75 years at annual meeting


By Indiana Reed

Special to The SUN

Results of director elections in three of four districts of La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) will be announced at the electric cooperative’s annual meeting Thursday, May 22, at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

The annual meeting is free and open to all LPEA members in good standing. Registration begins at 5 p.m., with the business meeting commencing at 6:30 p.m. A reception during the registration period will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and the music of popular local country singer/songwriter Tim Sullivan and his band Narrow Gauge.

“During the business meeting we will share important information about your cooperative, as well as report on the company’s financial performance over the last year and discuss the challenges of providing reliable power at the lowest reasonable cost, while remaining environmentally responsible,” said Davin Montoya, president, LPEA board of directors.

In special celebration of its 75th anniversary, LPEA will welcome Ted Case as keynote speaker. With a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University, Case spent two years working on “Power Plays,” the book he will discuss at the LPEA annual meeting.

“In the 1930s, only one farm in 10 had electricity before President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration to bring rural America out of the darkness,” said LPEA CEO Greg Munro, noting that FDR’s partners were the nation’s electric cooperatives, including LPEA. “‘Power Plays’ explores the defining moments in the relationship between electric co-ops and the U.S. presidents throughout the decades. It’s a very interesting book, and Ted is a compelling speaker, so I am looking forward to his presentation.”

Case is currently executive director of the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a position he has held since 2009. He spent 20 years in Washington, D.C., where he served on the staff of Congressman Bob Smith, and also served 12 years with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Additionally, comments will be presented at the annual meeting by Kent Singer, executive director of Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA), the trade association supporting the rural electric cooperatives in Colorado, and Mike McInnes, interim executive vice president/general manager of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, LPEA’s primary power supplier. The membership will also have an opportunity to query the board on topics of concern.

LPEA director election ballots were mailed to cooperative members on May 1 and must be returned by 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, to FredrickZink and Associates, the independent, Durango-based CPA firm retained by LPEA to tally the ballots utilizing La Plata County’s official ballot counting equipment. If not submitting ballots by mail, members can vote at the annual meeting prior to 6:30 p.m.

The approximately 7,800 LPEA members in Archuleta County —  District 1 — will elect a representative to the board from a field of two: incumbent Ken Fox and new candidate Bob Lynch.

In District 3, which is essentially the City of Durango, incumbent Jeff Berman has been challenged by new candidate Bill Waters. District 3 includes approximately 7,500 eligible voters.

New candidate Alison Dance is running against incumbent Joe Wheeling in District 4. More than 7,700 eligible voters are in District 4, which covers north and east La Plata County, including part of Bayfield.

This year in District 2 (south and west La Plata County), incumbent director Davin Montoya was the only nominee, thus the election in that district has been canceled and Montoya retains his seat.

LPEA members who register at the annual meeting will receive a $5 credit on their electric bill and are eligible for a wide array of door prizes. The Community Concert Hall is located on the campus of Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango. Volunteer parking attendants will direct members to the most convenient parking and golf carts will be available to assist those who have difficulty walking. The Concert Hall telephone number is 247-7657.

LPEA, celebrating 75 years in 2014, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with nearly 41,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 247-5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.