Voters return incumbents to Fairfield Electric Board

Honeycutt Elected to New District 9 Seat

Fairfield Electric Coop CEO Bruce Bacon, left, hands pickup keys to Reginald and Tolasky Strother, winners of the 2012 Silverado 1st place door prize at the Coop’s annual meeting last week. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – It was another big turnout, with 3,881 members registering and voting at the 2022 annual meeting of Fairfield Electric Coop last week.

For the third year in a row, the meeting was held over five days with drive-through registration and voting for trustees in four different towns – Blythewood, Chester, Elgin and Winnsboro.

Able

With the bylaw changes members approved last year, this was the first year single member voting districts were in effect. Members only vote for the trustee in their district and all members vote for the District At Large.

Keith Bailey, Chairman of the Credentials & Elections Committee reported the results of the election which was operated by the Fairfield County Voter Registration & Elections Office.

Hopkins

The election results were as follows:

Incumbent Trustee Cynthia (Able District 2) bested challenger Dan Ruff 280 to 184 votes to win the only contested seat.

Coop members also re-elected Tim Hopkins (District At Large), Keith Lewis (District 1), and Mitch Rabon (District 3), and elected Bruce Honeycutt to the newly created District 9 seat that includes much of Blythewood.

Lewis

The business meeting was conducted by Doug Payne, vice president of member services, at 6 p.m. at the Coop’s Blythewood headquarters on Friday with only the members of the Board of Trustees and select employees in attendance. The meeting was made available virtually on Fairfield Electric Coop’s Facebook page.

CEO Bruce Bacon addressed the in-person and virtual audience, thanking employees who worked throughout the week to plan and man the drive-thru registration. He also thanked the Board of Trustees for their leadership.

Rabon

“They are dedicated to serving you, our members,” Bacon said.

“On behalf of all our employees, I want to tell you (members) that we are proud to be your power provider. As a member-owned electric utility, Fairfield Electric Cooperative’s mission is to provide our members with quality energy services, at a fair and reasonable price,” he said.

“Your employees are committed to that mission.” Bacon continued. “They care about the service they provide to you, and they work every day to keep your power on. And when it does go out, they take pride in restoring the power as soon as possible.”

Honeycutt

Bacon recalled the severe winter storm in January that, he said, affected more than 12,000 Coop members.

“With the assistance of other cooperatives and utility contractors, we were able to restore most of the members within two days.” Bacon said.

He said the coop’s engineering staff is continually working to meet the demands of new growth.

“We also have some very large industrial customers looking at our service area, which could have a positive impact on all of our membership,” he said.

“Supply chain issues are the hot topic for all industries right now,” Bacon said, “and the electric industry is no different. We’ve not had any major issues, and we continue to plan and forecast our needs so that we don’t have any problems in the future. Staying focused on service reliability is always at the center of our business decisions and goals.

“Planning for the future,” he said, “also includes wholesale power. We’re currently working with other electric cooperatives within the state as well as Central Electric Power Cooperative to determine what our next generation resource will be. We’re looking at competitively priced power, delivered reliably, and in a safe and responsible manner.”

Bacon reminded members that the electric industry is changing as the automotive industry is moving to electric vehicles.

“We are evaluating the impact this will have on our systems, electric demand, and the need for additional infrastructure,” Bacon said. “We must be prepared for the impact this will have, and as this technology progresses, we want to be the trusted resource for you, our members.

“But no matter what the future brings,” Bacon said, “I want to remind you that one thing is for certain, we’re looking out for you.”

The annual business meeting concluded with a drawing for door prizes.

Reginald Strother of Columbia won the grand prize, a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, and Queen Lewis of Blythewood won the second prize, a 42-inch Husqvarna riding lawn mower. The last of the top-three prize winners, Erick Brown of Lugoff, received a $500 credit on his electric bill.

Thirty-four other members won electricity credits and gift cards.

Queen Lewis of Blythewood won the second place drawing prize Husqvarna riding lawn mower at the Coop’s annual meeting. | Fairfield Coop

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