LA CROSSE, Wis., June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Approximately 600 electric cooperative leaders and guests attended Dairyland Power Cooperative's 71st annual meeting at the La Crosse Center earlier today.
The theme of the meeting was Valuable Connections, highlighting the crucial role collaboration plays in sustaining Dairyland's strength and leadership as a reliable, responsible cooperative utility. Following that theme in his primary address, William Berg, Dairyland President and CEO, spoke to the membership about "why you should feel good about being a member of this cooperative and the valuable connections it gives you." Mr. Berg discussed the importance of maintaining a positive outlook for the future, while steadily working through industry issues. "We are certainly facing many challenges that make long-term power planning difficult. We know there will be setbacks, but we will persevere. We will continue to do the things we need to do to make our members' future better. That is our history at Dairyland. That is who we are."
Following his address, Mr. Berg cited the very valuable connection Dairyland has with its employees during the presentation of awards to staff members with 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Glenn English gave the keynote presentation, which focused on the responsibilities that come with effective leadership. Mr. English pointed to the importance of cooperation and compromise in securing a bright future for the 42 million members of electric cooperatives nationwide. "Electric cooperatives have always been about improving the quality of life for all. As cooperative leaders, sometimes you have to swim against the current to make sure that goal is still being met," said Mr. English. The morning session concluded with a political update provided by Brian Rude, Dairyland Director, External and Member Relations.
Three members of Dairyland's staff formed a panel to discuss projects, concerns and news related to the utility industry. Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting and Regulatory Affairs, presented on Transmission in a Challenging World; Rob Palmberg, Vice President, Generation, presented on Generation in Today's Energy Market; and Phil Moilien, Vice President and CFO, presented on Financing for the Future.
President and CEO William Berg closed the annual meeting by taking questions from the audience. Dan Korn, Chairman of the Board and director representing Vernon Electric Cooperative, presided over the meeting.
Jeff Redalen, Treasurer of Dairyland's Board and director representing Tri-County Electric Cooperative, provided a 2011 Financial Report: "Dairyland's cooperative management works closely with the Board of Directors and member cooperatives to make sure that business operations support the cooperative's long-term Vision, Mission and Values. The goal is to make sure operations are financially prudent, while planning for future needed investments in generation resources and transmission system.
To ensure long-term financial strength, the Dairyland Board implemented a Strategic Financial Plan to maintain "A" ratings from Moody's and Standard & Poors credit rating agencies. Dairyland experienced a moderate decline in electric sales in 2011 due to the continued economic recession and very mild seasonal temperatures. Systemwide, Dairyland energy sales decreased to 5.9 billion kilowatt-hours in 2011-compared to 2010 sales of 6.4 billion kilowatt-hours. Despite the decrease in overall sales, Dairyland's year-end results were positive with an increase in margins, strengthening Dairyland's overall financial position. For 2011, margins increased to $18.2 million over 2010 margins of $13.2 million.
"Dairyland's Board and management continue to focus on three important objectives while developing Dairyland's budget: keeping rates reasonable, protecting the member co-ops' investment in Dairyland and keeping the system healthy and viable for the future," Redalen noted.
Along with the meeting, Dairyland employees staffed informational booths on the following topics: renewable energy; environmental stewardship; LACBWR dry cask storage project; and marketing.
Dairyland, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, was formed in December 1941. Headquartered in La Crosse, Wis., Dairyland provides the wholesale electrical requirements for 25 distribution cooperatives and 16 municipal utilities. These cooperatives and municipals, in turn, supply the energy needs of more than a half-million people in the four-state service area.
Today, the cooperative's generating resources include coal, natural gas, hydro, wind, landfill gas, biomass, animal waste and solar. Dairyland delivers electricity via 3,100 miles of transmission lines and nearly 300 substations located throughout the system's 44,500 square mile service area.
SOURCE Dairyland Power Cooperative