(Read the remarks from the annual meeting by Sonja Cox, SMECO’s President and CEO.)
SMECO held its 82nd Annual Meeting on August 27, 2020, at the cooperative’s headquarters in Hughesville, Md. The Board of Directors election was conducted online and by mail prior to the meeting.
The following SMECO members were elected to serve on SMECO’s Board for three years: Nancy W. Zinn of Calvert County; William L. Purnell of Charles County; Daniel W. Dyer of Prince George’s County; and J. Douglas Frederick and Joseph Gilbert Murphy of St. Mary’s County. One bylaw amendment was also included on this year’s ballot, and it passed.
More than 11,000 members voted—a record high number of votes cast in a SMECO election—and results were announced at the meeting. This is the fourth year SMECO’s election was conducted by mail, and, for the second time, members could also vote electronically by casting their ballots online. Ballots were mailed to members on July 22. The deadline for submitting ballots by mail or electronically was August 20. Eighty percent of the ballots were returned by mail and 20 percent were cast online. Members who returned their ballots or voted online were eligible to win one of 30 electric bill credits of $50 each.
Scott White, Chairman of the SMECO Board of Directors, chaired the meeting and welcomed SMECO members to the cooperative’s transportation building where the event was held. He explained that the meeting was held at SMECO’s headquarters campus because of the pandemic and the possibility that the meeting format would have to be altered.
Sonja M. Cox, SMECO’s president and CEO since March 2020, recapped the cooperative’s accomplishments of the past year. Cox said that SMECO’s margins for 2019 totaled more than $29 million. “SMECO uses margins to invest in new construction and infrastructure improvements,” she said. SMECO has replaced substation transformers at the La Plata, Piscataway, McConchie, and Mattawoman substations. Cox also explained, “Over the past few years we’ve been working to rebuild the Farmington Switching Station to improve service in Accokeek by relocating the Piscataway substation to our Farmington station. The project was recently completed and all of the customers who were being fed by the Piscataway substation have been transferred to the new Farmington station.”
Cox added, “Through our SMECO EV Recharge program, we are installing charging stations at local government-owned facilities, such as public libraries. Our pilot program was approved by the Public Service Commission, and SMECO was authorized to install up to 60 charging stations throughout Southern Maryland.”