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Board Chairman and CEO Report

On behalf of Eastern Illini’s Board of Directors and employees, we would like to welcome you to the 2019 Annual Meeting of Members! Thank you for attending your annual meeting. We hope you enjoy the day with your family, take advantage of the activities and food, and learn a little more about how EIEC is much different than other utilities.

As a member-owned cooperative, we provide you – our members – with reliable electricity and excellent service. Our employees live in this area, just like you, and we are dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural east central Illinois. We would like to provide a few highlights from the past year:

SAFETY
Our driving and continual focus for the cooperative is the safety of our employees, our members, and the general public. The commitment to safety is reflected in the support of our Board of Directors, management, and our employees. The main portion of our safety goal each year is to experience zero lost time incidents. We did not achieve that goal in 2018, as we experienced one lost time event. For 2019, our safety goal is to experience zero lost time incidents and we are committed to achieving that goal.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Eastern Illini is not just in the business of selling electricity. We are also working to improve the quality of life for our members and our communities. This year marked the second year of our Empowering Education Grant Program which provided $20,000 to 40 deserving teachers throughout our communities to help fund engaging projects for their students.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are gaining in popularity. We purchased a fully electric Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2018. The operating costs of EVs are less than half that of traditional vehicles. We are also exploring ways to help establish charging networks in our area. Be sure to stop by and see the Bolt during the annual meeting.

MEMBER SATISFACTION
EIEC employees and Directors take pride in providing the service level our members deserve and expect. Each October, we include a survey with our billing. This survey typically covers topics such as member service, employee professionalism, rates, programs, and reliability. We also include questions to calculate an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score. In 2018, our overall survey results were very good, and we received an ACSI score of 88 (out of 100)! This score places us in the top 15% of cooperatives across the nation. We are proud of the level of service that we provide you, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve.

FINANCIAL UPDATE
2018 was a good financial year for your cooperative. Operating margins totaled more than $1.4 million, with total operating revenues of $34.9 million. These margins are in addition to the $800,000 margin rebate that was returned to members as a bill credit on the December 2018 usage bills. Equity for the year ended at 49.60% which is above our benchmark target. Our debt service coverage metric exceeded our lender’s requirements. These two factors allow us to optimize our borrowing costs.

MARGINS AND CAPITAL CREDITS
Each year, we review our revenue collected compared to our expenses in providing electric service to you. A positive difference is similar to profit, but for a not-for-profit cooperative it is referred to as operating margins. These margins are then allocated as capital credits to be returned to you at a future date.

Our Board of Directors have set a goal of returning margins back to our members on a 25-year cycle. We anticipate reaching this goal in 2020. In 2018, we retired nearly $1.6 million in capital credits to members who received electric service in 1988-1991. For 2019, we are budgeting a retirement of over $1.5 million for the years of 1992 and 1993. This return of your equity, or prior investment in EIEC, is one of the unique benefits of membership in a local, not-for-profit cooperative.

RATES
EIEC has not had a distribution rate adjustment since April 2013. We are pleased to inform you that there is no increase budgeted in our distribution rate for 2019. However, we do pass along any increases from our wholesale power provider as necessary, in the power cost adjustment portion of our billing. Our wholesale power costs reflect the capacity, energy, and transmission portions of electricity pricing delivered to the EIEC metering points.

In 2018, we completed a cost of service study to help determine our future revenue needs, along with reviewing the fairness of the cost allocation among members in the various rate classes. We plan to conduct a rate study later in 2019 utilizing these cost of service results. The rate study will help to determine the level of future increases in our fixed cost components (monthly base charge and possibly a future demand charge component) while reviewing the appropriate level for energy (kWh) charges.

TECHNOLOGY
As the technology around us continues to change rapidly, we are always on the lookout for technology that will allow us to better serve you. Our online and smart phone account portal – SmartHub – continues to evolve. SmartHub lets you easily and conveniently pay your bill, view your electric use history, report an outage, and more. You can sign up for your FREE SmartHub account by visiting our website at www.eiec.coop. We continue to embrace technology in our daily operations and member services, using programs and analytics to assist with automated service orders, mapping, system analysis, staking, outage management, and many other applications.

POWER SUPPLY
About 60% of our power is provided by the Prairie State Generating Campus coal-fired power plant, located in Washington County, Illinois. Our wholesale power provider, Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI), owns 130 MW of this facility, along with various other natural gas fired generation units. On the renewable front, PPI has two solar panel arrays and a small portion of wind energy provided by the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm near Paxton.

PPI also contracts for power supply in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. PPI is continually monitoring existing and future market trends in balancing the decision of owning or contracting for future generation resources, to provide you with supply diversity and a stable long-term portfolio.

RELIABILITY
Our distribution system performed well this year, resulting in an available reliability of 99.985% (excluding major storms and transmission supply outages). Even with the inclusion of major storm events and transmission supplier outages, our available reliability was 99.96%. We continue to monitor and upgrade our system to maintain the high level of service you’ve come to expect. Power from PPI is delivered through the Ameren 69 kV transmission system. Annually, nearly one-third of our member’s average outage time is a result of outages on the Ameren system that impact EIEC power substations. We continue to work with Ameren and PPI to improve their service and reliability.

CHALLENGES
Rural areas in general are experiencing population decline and a lack of adequate job opportunities, along with inadequate internet access. The EIEC territory experiences similar trends, which leads to flat or minimal energy sales growth.

We continue to monitor and evaluate the generous State of Illinois’ renewable incentive program, primarily for wind and solar. Distributed generation such as these renewables may present significant challenges to our current business model and rate structure. All members share in the cost of assets and annual expenses. Any loss of kWh sales and revenue resulting from member owned generation (such as solar) must be re-allocated and recovered from the total membership.

OPPORTUNITIES
Most of the recent additions in energy sales in our territory has been driven from existing member expansions of grain, livestock, and other agricultural related businesses. We continue to work with our members to optimize the value they receive from electric service.

We are in our 82nd year operating a successful electric distribution cooperative, and we appreciate the confidence that you have placed in us and our employees to represent your interests. We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief recap of our 2018 performance. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Schlatter, Board Chairman

 

Bob Hunzinger, President/CEO

 

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2019 Annual Meeting Recap

    

      

On Thursday, June 6, 2019 EIEC members and their families (totaling almost 2,000 people) attended Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s 32nd Annual Meeting at PBL Jr./Sr. High School in Paxton.

The event was geared for family fun and featured several children’s activities, including a bounce house, an inflatable obstacle course and slide, miniature golf, a petting zoo, and bucket truck rides.

Other entertainment was provided by the Marvin Lee Band. A pair of costumed energy efficient characters greeted attendees: Solar Sam and LED Lucy.

A full meal of fried chicken, baked ham, noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, coleslaw, and dessert was provided by Niemerg’s Catering. The Rocking K Chuckwagon provided lighter fare including snow cones for those relaxing outside.

During the business meeting, Board Chairman Tom Schlatter, and Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob  Hunzinger provided co-op updates and discussed the current financial state of the cooperative.

Member voting results for the board of directors were announced. These people were elected to the
Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors: Tyler Finegan, Ashkum; Steve Gordon, Rantoul;  Chad Larimore, Bement; and Lauri Quick, Tolono.

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EIEC Annual Meeting: June 6

       

The 32nd Annual Meeting of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is just around the corner. We hope you’ve marked Thursday, June 6 on your calendar and can make it for an event full of fun activities, enjoyable entertainment, delicious food, and fascinating seminars.

Click HERE for the Schedule of Events

Registration begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The annual meeting will be held at PBL Jr/Sr High School in Paxton. We’ll have plenty of parking and EIEC employees will be available with golf carts to pick you up and take you to registration which is located on the north end of PBL Junior High School, near the Jr. High gymnasium. When you register for the annual meeting, you will be eligible for a $25 bill credit. At the time of registration, you will receive a ballot to vote for the board of directors as well as proposed bylaw amendments.

Click HERE for Board of Directors Candidates

Click HERE for Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Click HERE for the Annual Meeting Program and Annual Report

This year’s dinner is provided by Niemerg’s Catering and includes: fried chicken, baked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, vegetables, and dessert. Snacks and ice cream will also be available in the courtyard.

While at the annual meeting, be sure to stop by and see the new EIEC Chevy Bolt Electric Vehicle as well as the antique truck. And as in year’s past, should you want to take a ride in the bucket truck, our lineman will accommodate and give you a birds eye view of the area.

After you’ve voted and eaten, feel free to spend some time in the tent outside listening to the wonderful music of the Marvin Lee Band or check out the seminars happening at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. in rooms 605, 608, 609, and 610. There is a wide array of topics including Planting, Growing, and Using Herbs; Dos and Don’ts of Chain Saw Use; Annuals & Perennials: Right Plant, Right Place;  and Shining A Light On Solar & Other Renewables.

Click HERE for the Seminar Schedule

The children will enjoy the petting zoo, bounce house, miniature golf, and inflatable obstacle course. The children’s area is open from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and when the kids need a break, they can grab a drink or snack in the courtyard.

You’ll want to stay for the business meeting as ten, $100 bills will be awarded to attendees following the business meeting.

This year’s annual meeting has something for everyone and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday, June 6.

ANNUAL MEETING REGISTRATION:

3 P.M. – 7 P.M.

BUSINESS MEETING:

7 P.M. – 8 P.M.

$25 Bill Credit Call to Order
Antique Truck Display Pledge of Allegiance
Bucket Truck Demonstration Invocation
Bounce House Quorum Determination
Electric Vehicle Recognition of Guests
Inflatable Obstacle Course Notice and Proof of Mailing
Marvin Lee Band 2018 Meeting Minutes
Miniature Golf Treasurer’s Report
Petting Zoo Chairman and CEO Report
Seminars Questions from the Floor
Dinner by Niemerg’s Catering Unfinished Business
Snacks and Ice Cream in Courtyard New Business
Vote for Board of Directors Adjournment
Vote for Proposed Bylaw Amendments Door Prizes (Ten, $100 bills)
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Eastern Illini Plugs in a Chevy Bolt

For the average American household, transportation is the second largest expense after housing. Swapping a gas-powered vehicle for an all-electric vehicle can save you money . The average cost to operate an EV is $485 per year. Electricity costs are also less than purchasing gasoline and the price is more predictable. As battery technology continues to improve, the cost per mile will continue to decrease.

Stop by EIEC in Paxton and take a test drive in our new Chevy Bolt. You’ll find it to be a lively electric vehicle with a spacious cabin and some awesome features. It has a longer electric-only range than other EVs. The Bolt has ample power and brisk acceleration. You can charge this car overnight with a 240-volt charger or use the available DC fast charger to get up to 90 miles of range in a half an hour. The Bolt feels lively when taking off from a stop. It also has excellent acceleration when passing other cars on the highway.

The Chevy Bolt can seat up to five and has heated seats and steering wheel. The Bolt has 16.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. The back seat folds down to expand cargo space.

Standard equipment includes the MyLink infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen, an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone integration, a six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, and satellite radio. The system’s 10.2-inch touch screen is easy-to-use. MyLink provides both in-car entertainment and useful information for managing your charging and driving habits.

As a battery-electric vehicle, the Bolt EV’s only power source is its lithium-ion battery pack. The EPA estimates its all-electric driving range to be around 238 miles on a full charge. The Bolt also has an efficiency rating of 128 MPGe in the city and 110 MPGe on the highway.

It’s fun to drive regardless of road conditions, and its battery pack gives the car a low center of gravity, granting extra stability. Responsive steering and smooth, strong brakes enhance the driving experience. This vehicle is also coordinated, with good road grip and minimal body roll. Worthy of note is the Bolt’s two driving modes that affect regenerative braking. In Drive mode, it operates much like a normal car. In Low mode, the regenerative brakes become more aggressive, allowing you to drive with one pedal. The car will slow down more aggressively when you let off the throttle. There is also a Regen on Demand feature, which activates aggressive regenerative braking by pulling a paddle on the back of the steering wheel. Keep in mind that the brake pedal may still need to be used in some situations.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is an appealing pick as a daily commuter, thanks in large part to its 200-plus-mile range, swift acceleration, and lively handling. Its cargo area and seats are spacious, and the Chevy’s nicely equipped infotainment system is user-friendly.

Give us a call at 1-800-824-5102 to set up a test drive today. We will have the Chevy Bolt on display at upcoming events and it will be showcased at the annual meeting in June.

Range: 238 mi battery-only
MSRP: from $36,620
Charge time: 9.3h at 220V
Battery: 60 kWh 350 V lithium-ion
MPGe: 128 city / 110 highway

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2019 Annual Meeting: June 6

OFFICIAL NOTICE

EASTERN ILLINI ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
2019 ANNUAL MEETING

June 6, 2019

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Junior/Senior High School
Paxton, Illinois
Registration: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Business meeting: 7 p.m.

Notice is hereby given that the 32nd Annual Meeting of Members of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative will be held on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at 7 p.m., at the Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School/Junior High School, 700 West Orleans Street, Paxton, Illinois. Registration will begin at
3 p.m. and will close at 7 p.m. The business meeting will be called to order at 7 p.m. and action will be taken on the following:

1. The reports of officers, directors and President/CEO.

2. The election of four directors (one each from Directorate Districts 1, 7, 8 and 9). In connection with the election of directors, the following candidates have been nominated by petitions: Robert Warmbir, Clifton, District 1; Tyler Finegan, Ashkum, District 1; Steve Gordon, Rantoul, District 7; Chad Larimore, Bement, District 8; Theodore Hartke, Sidney, District 9; Lauri Quick, Tolono, District 9.

3. To consider and act upon bylaw amendments as recommended by the Board of Directors, a summary of which is furnished with this notice.

4. To consider and transact all other business which may properly come before said meeting or any adjournment(s) thereof.

Bradley J. Ludwig
Secretary/Treasurer

 

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