Hundreds attend ECE annual meeting

Hundreds of East Central Energy (ECE) members joined their cooperative to open the next chapter in its dynamic history at the 76th annual meeting Saturday, April 14.

Members, families and friends gathered at Rush City High School for the opportunity to get better acquainted with their cooperative. The Pine County Dairy Princesses and students from Rush City High helped serve a complimentary pancake breakfast to 657 members. The high school choir sang the National Anthem at the start of the business meeting.

The hub of the action prior to the business meeting was the gymnasium, where new wellness activities engaged members with their fun and informative flair.  Volunteers provided blood pressure checks, hand/wrist messages, stretching demonstrations, dental health and heart health information. Members tried their luck at prizes in the health walk and registered for a chance to win a new bike.

A video showed the extent of the storm damage on ECE’s system last summer. Operations staff at the co-op created a large pole-mount transformer display to help members see how electrical equipment is impacted in a storm and learn what ECE is doing to protect equipment across the system and minimize blinks and outages.

ECE’s energy experts were on hand with information that can help members save energy and money. The co-op’s central air conditioner and air source heat pump programs are a focus at this time of year, but members also took home valuable information on lighting rebates, electric water heating savings and more.

ECE’s colorful characters, the Saver family, made a live appearance at the annual meeting. Bill, Penny, Max and Minnie are helping ECE transition to the next chapter with a new look and lighthearted adventures in saving energy and money. Their story is featured on the cooperative’s website,

More than 365 attended the business meeting to hear President/CEO Steve Shurts present the 2011 financial report. He answered questions about ECE’s recent rate adjustment and outlined steps the cooperative is taking to control costs. The result of the membership vote on the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws was announced. The new governing documents were approved by the membership, with 4,092 votes in favor and 623 votes against.

Mike Kapalin, district 1, David Cartwright, district 3, and David Tellinghuisen, district 6, were congratulated on being elected by member petition to serve four-year terms on the ECE Board of Directors.

The Rush City Food Shelf received 137 pounds of food and $174, thanks to the generosity of ECE members who brought donations to the annual meeting.