How is Vernon Electric Co-op run?

By DENA EAKLES

Echo Valley Hope, rural Ontario

This article is No. 4 in a series compiled by Dena Eakles of Echo Valley Hope. The purpose is to provide information to all Vernon Electric Cooperative members so they can actively steer their cooperative. 

As a member of Vernon Electric Cooperative, you are an investor with capitol credits attributed to you and as such you have a legal say in how your coop is run. Question to ask and ponder: How does VEC run?

A 10-member board of directors meets monthly to conduct the business affairs of the cooperative.  One director is elected from each of the 10 geographic divisions that comprise the Vernon Electric Co-op service territory.  Directors are elected to serve three-year terms.  The terms are staggered. To view the 10 directors of the board, you can visit https://www.vernonelectric.org/district-committee-conference.

The planning and decisions made by the board affect all of us, from our pocketbooks to our safety. Decisions being made today must include future environmental and transmission impacts as well as waste, from wasted energy to wasted dollars. 

Questions to ponder and to ask: How can I ensure the board is acting on my best interest and the best interest of other members? How can I become more informed? How can we, the 10,000 members of VEC, ensure transparency?    

Can you as a member attend the board meetings? Yes and no.  Meetings are not open. You can request to speak before the board, and once you have spoken, you are dismissed.

To access the minutes of the meetings, you must have access to a computer, the Internet, and follow these steps: Go to VEC website https://www.vernonelectric.org/; click on “My Account (SmartHub)”; set up an account and/ or log in with your credentials; and go to the “My Profile” tab at the top and click “documents” in the drop down menu. Scroll through to find the recent board minutes. This is a tall order for those without computers or Internet access. 

Questions to ponder and to ask: Why are board minutes not more readily accessible? Important information is being debated and decisions are made without the spirit of informed consensus, which is the basis of cooperatives.

What can we do to receive board minutes in more ready fashion and in a more timely way? 

The next annual meeting will be Saturday, March 25. At that time, members will be allowed to vote on issues and resolutions made prior to that meeting. This is an important date for all VEC members who choose to direct the course of the cooperative. It is possible that bylaw changes will be made and voted on. Stay tuned. You can watch the April 2022 annual meeting here: https://krm.vo.llnwd.net/perigonrecordings/ev12-standard/d83ad869-5bc6-40e7-b931-1facf55acf19/557_557_20220326140013403.ts.mp4

Another important date is the District Committee Conference on Saturday, Feb. 11, when two candidates from each of the 100 divisions are selected. A petition of 15 or more can also select candidates to be nominated. See you there!

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