REMC stresses ‘Stronger Together’ as members gather again

ASHEBORO — The theme for the Randolph Electric Membership Corporation’s annual meeting was “Stronger Together.”

That certainly held relevance Friday night.

The gathering for the 84th annual meeting was the first in-person event in three years for the cooperative.

“Randolph EMC invests in our communities and in our young people because we believe we are stronger together,” said Jerry Bowman, board president of REMC. “We also invest in you, our member-owner, by returning excess revenue to you in the form of capital credits.”

Secretary-treasurer Billy Maness reported that REMC the cooperative’s total assets and liabilities is at nearly $185 million, reflecting a gain of about $7 million from a year earlier.

“I’m happy to report that our cooperative continues to remain financially sound because of your support,” Maness told attendees.

CEO Dale Lambert said that the power flowed to REMC members for 99.982 percent of the time in 2021. So in terms of outage time, that reflected the lowest percentage in at least 20 years for the cooperative that includes parts of five counties.

“We were very blessed in 2021 that no major storms hit the system,” Lambert said. “But I believe it’s a testament that we are on the right track to improving reliability.”

Much of that comes with maintenance and foresight. This year, more than $5.3 million in system improvement projects are set to be conducted.

A new program was introduced that will be available for members with fully electric homes. This is the “Connect to Save” program.

“Participants will have the ability to purchase smart thermostats at a highly reduced amount, have it installed for free, receive a free hot water control device that can track usage and be placed into ‘vacation mode’ when you’re heading out of town,” Lambert said. “And all this can be done from your smart device.”

Sign-ups were taken at the meeting, but others can add their residences to the list by contacting their local offices.

After the 2020 and 2021 meetings were held virtually online, this meeting was held in the Southwestern Randolph High School gym. More than 275 attendees were on site. While counting online registrants, organizers estimated about 600 people tuned in one way or another.

U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson spoke, while attendees included North Carolina House members Jamie Boles, Pat Hurley and Allen McNeill.

Three directors were elected during the meeting: Lee Isley for District 1, Larry Routh for District 3 and Jeff Sugg for District 6.

By Bob Sutton