LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. — Members of 4-County Electric Power Association elected two directors, attended a health fair and learned about a variety of cooperative programs and initiatives at the Association’s Annual Membership Meeting Thursday at East Mississippi Community College’s Mayhew campus.
4-County CEO/General Manager Joe Cade began his remarks to an estimated 700 people by honoring the Association’s linemen. The cooperative’s Directors recently adopted a resolution declaring April 18 as 4-County Lineman Appreciation Day. “Our linemen are the heart and soul of our cooperative. They often work in the rain and snow, day and night, when duty calls. Working together, these brave men restore power to our communities,” Cade said.
He also outlined a number of co-op initiatives undertaken in the last 12 months:
Co-op Connection Cards – 4-County provides these cards to members, free of charge. The cards provide discounts for prescription drugs and other products and services throughout the 4-County service area. Since the card’s inception over two years ago, 4-County members have saved over $208,000 on prescription drugs. This year, card services have expanded to include discounts on vision and dental care, hearing aids, lab work, imaging and chiropractic care.
Columbus Air Force Base – The cooperative recently undertook responsibility for maintaining the Columbus Air Force Base electrical distribution system.
Economic Development – 4-County recently helped to bring an estimated 600 jobs to the cooperative’s service area by participating in a variety of economic development projects, including the new Yokohama Tire Corporation site in Clay County, Calstar Corporation in the Golden Triangle Regional Industrial Park, and expansions to existing plants.
In his comments, Board President Johnny Johnson pointed out the cooperative’s mission to provide affordable and reliable electricity. “We do that by continually looking for ways to do our jobs as efficiently and cost effectively as possible, while maintaining the highest levels of safety, quality and service,” Johnson told the membership.
He outlined a number of daily services offered by the co-op:
Energy right programs – These programs, offered in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority, help homes and businesses become more energy efficient. Residential members using the In-Home Energy Evaluation have made almost $2 million in energy efficient improvements and been paid more than $175,000 in incentives for doing so. And over the last year, 4-County has helped 11 commercial customers qualify for nearly $100,000 in energy efficiency incentives.
Prepay – In October, 4-County became one of the few utilities in the country to offer Prepay. More than 700 members are taking advantage of a new way to pay for their electric use – paying what they want, when they can while avoiding security deposits, late fees and reconnect charges.
Volunteerism – 4-County employees are very active in volunteer and mission work.
Board Secretary-Treasurer Marty Crowder reviewed the co-op’s finances. Crowder said that 4-County’s total assets were valued at $189.4 million in 2012. Members’ equity, or ownership, in the system was valued at $94.7 million.
In other business, incumbents John Scarbrough of Columbus (District 1, Lowndes County) and Marty Crowder (District 5, Choctaw and Winston counties) were re-elected to three-year terms on the board of directors.
Prior to the meeting, a health fair was held for members. About 400 people participated in the health care screenings.
After the meeting, members enjoyed participating in door prize activities.
4-County serves about 47,000 members in parts of nine counties: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston.