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Jo-Carroll Energy connects with members at annual meeting

Speaking in front of a hometown crowd of more than 400 people, Jo-Carroll Energy president and CEO Mike Casper stressed how the cooperative serves its members and communities during the 79th annual meeting of members held in Galena on May 23.

From providing members with reliable energy services to building a fiber internet network, the speakers focused on the meeting theme of how the cooperative is “Connecting with Our Communities”.

“Whether it is safely and quickly restoring your service after a storm or discussing renewable energy we are here to serve you and our communities,” Casper said. “We are focused on your needs and work for the sustainable development of our area.”

“We are constantly connecting the communities where we live and work to serve them in the best ways we can,” he added. “Our Sand Prairie fiber internet service takes us back to our roots 75 years ago when a group of farmers formed Jo-Carroll to bring electric service where others couldn’t or wouldn’t. We’re doing that now with fiber internet, bringing fiber where others couldn’t or wouldn’t.”

The cooperative’s broadband division, Sand Prairie, is working to finalize plans to provide a redundant fiber loop into downtown Galena that will not only increase reliability but provide area emergency services with another fiber source, Casper said. And, the village of Elizabeth is about to become Sand Prairie’s first fiber community.

Cooperative connections were strengthened recently when Jo-Carroll changed power suppliers so that 100% of the cooperative’s electric power supply comes from generation and transmission cooperatives. Dairyland Power Cooperative now provides power for all the northern service territory while Prairie Power, Inc. continues to serve as the source of power for the cooperative’s southern territory near Geneseo.

The transition provides the cooperative a long-term, reliable, sustainable and stable-priced power source, Casper noted. It also provides members access to additional electric energy efficiency incentives, expanded load control programs and a growing diversified energy mix.

Barbara Nick, president and CEO of Dairyland Power, provided more information about the Dairyland system, plans for resource diversification and competitive service and growth. She noted that the transition of Jo-Carroll to Dairyland Power, helped the Dairyland system grow by 10 percent on April 1.

Nick provided additional details about Dairyland’s diversified energy mix, including growing wind and solar sources including a planned 1.5MW solar project near Thomson in Jo-Carroll’s service territory.

The event was the cooperative’s annual business meeting of the membership and appreciation dinner. Results of elections in five director districts were announced. Dan Tindell of Galena was elected to the Jo-Carroll Energy board of directors to complete the unexpired term in District 4. Tindell was appointed to that post in 2017 to fill a vacancy.

Four other incumbent directors were re-elected by a vote of acclamation during the meeting. All were unopposed in the election. They are Pat Smith of Galena, District 5; Dave Senn of Mount Carroll, District 7; Russell Holesinger of Fulton, District 8; and Bob Kuhns of Geneseo, District 10.

With this election, the number of board members from District 10 was reduced to one. Following the merger with Farmers Mutual Electric Company, District 10 was initially represented by three directors, reduced to two in 2015 and now one as part of a transition and integration period.

Board chairman Dave Senn recognized outgoing director Ron Hallendorff of Geneseo for his years of service on the board and as a former director of Farmers Mutual.

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