Making Prudent Choices is our Duty

Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees

If there’s one thing the power outages following Hurricanes Sally and Zeta have taught us, it’s that this cooperative means a lot of things to a lot of people in our local area.

Not only do our members depend on the power Baldwin EMC provides to make life easier in their homes, our community as a whole relies on it for essential services like traffic control, healthcare and public safety.

As such, we, the democratically elected representatives on Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees, have an obligation to guide this cooperative in such a way that ensures it will be here in the local community for a long time to come.

One of the most crucial ways we achieve this is by practicing good financial stewardship. Every time you pay your power bill, you’re making an investment in this cooperative, and it’s our duty to make sure your investment is well-managed.

By now, you’re probably used to us routinely retiring and refunding capital credits to members. In other words, we’ve had more resources in reserve than we’ve needed to hold on to, and we’ve made it a point to put those back in your wallet.

This year, Hurricane Sally had a catastrophic effect on Baldwin EMC’s distribution system. Beyond the damage to Baldwin EMC’s facilities, the storm also broke thousands of poles and spans of lines across the county. In some areas, we were left to rebuild our distribution system literally from the ground up.

Just six weeks later, our service territory got a glancing blow from Hurricane Zeta. Although it wasn’t a direct hit for our area, we experienced strong enough wind speeds to bring down trees and cause further damage to our distribution equipment. All in all, outages from Zeta numbered more than 35,000.

Due to the sheer volume of the destruction, when all is said and done, this year’s storm damages will likely be two to three times costlier for Baldwin EMC than we’ve experienced in previous years. Taking that into consideration, the Baldwin EMC board has decided not to retire capital credits in 2020.

Capital credits will still be allocated to every member just like every year. That’s your right as a member. However, rather than refund any portion, the co-op will continue to hold them in reserve, which will provide the assets we need to continue repairing our distribution system. These repairs are critical for Baldwin EMC to be able to continue providing the reliable electric service our community depends on.

As always, your board members are here if you have any questions or concerns about capital credits, or any of the steps we’re taking to ensure Baldwin EMC’s financial stability. That’s the beauty of a board made up of local people. We’re your neighbors. We shop at the same grocery stores and attend the same churches. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.

We’re in this together.

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