Scott White, Chairman of SMECO’s Board of Directors, speaks to the group gathered for the co-op’s 82nd Annual Meeting.

HUGHESVILLE, Md. – Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) held its 82nd Annual Meeting on August 27, 2020, at the cooperative’s headquarters in Hughesville, Md. The Board of Directors election was conducted online and by mail prior to the meeting.

The following SMECO members were elected to serve on SMECO’s Board for three years: Nancy W. Zinn of Calvert County; William L. Purnell of Charles County; Daniel W. Dyer of Prince George’s County; and J. Douglas Frederick and Joseph Gilbert Murphy of St. Mary’s County. One bylaw amendment was also included on this year’s ballot, and it passed.

More than 11,000 members voted—a record high number of votes cast in a SMECO election—and results were announced at the meeting. This is the fourth year SMECO’s election was conducted by mail, and, for the second time, members could also vote electronically by casting their ballots online. Ballots were mailed to members on July 22. The deadline for submitting ballots by mail or electronically was August 20. Eighty percent of the ballots were returned by mail and 20 percent were cast online. Members who returned their ballots or voted online were eligible to win one of 30 electric bill credits of $50 each.

Scott White, Chairman of the SMECO Board of Directors, chaired the meeting and welcomed SMECO members to the cooperative’s transportation building where the event was held. He explained that the meeting was held at SMECO’s headquarters campus because of the pandemic and the possibility that the meeting format would have to be altered.

At SMECO’s Annual Meeting, held on August 27 at the co-op’s transportation building in Hughesville, participants were seated six feet apart and wore masks.

Sonja M. Cox, SMECO’s president and CEO since March 2020, recapped the cooperative’s accomplishments of the past year. Cox said that SMECO’s margins for 2019 totaled more than $29 million. “SMECO uses margins to invest in new construction and infrastructure improvements,” she said. SMECO has replaced substation transformers at the La Plata, Piscataway, McConchie, and Mattawoman substations. Cox also explained, “Over the past few years we’ve been working to rebuild the Farmington Switching Station to improve service in Accokeek by relocating the Piscataway substation to our Farmington station. The project was recently completed and all of the customers who were being fed by the Piscataway substation have been transferred to the new Farmington station.”

Cox added, “Through our SMECO EV Recharge program, we are installing charging stations at local government-owned facilities, such as public libraries. Our pilot program was approved by the Public Service Commission, and SMECO was authorized to install up to 60 charging stations throughout Southern Maryland.”

Below are the results of the voting. You may use this information at your discretion:

Calvert County (one elected)
William F. Baca  2,964 votes
Nancy W. Zinn  6,654 votes

Charles County (one elected)
Kenneth W. Cross  3,230 votes
William L. Purnell 6,688 votes

Prince George’s County (one elected)
Daniel W. Dyer  5,894 votes
Edith D. Thrash 3,521 votes

St. Mary’s County (two elected)
J. Douglas Frederick  6,972 votes
Debra Gray 3,763 votes
Joseph Gilbert Murphy 4,545 votes
David B. Richards 3,091 votes

SMECO – The Cooperative Difference –
SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 165,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County.

Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers.  Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.

At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins (profits) are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. SMECO uses its profits to invest in new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. The Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the co-op and determines when members will receive a refund. Since 1937, SMECO has refunded more than $94 million.

As a cooperative, SMECO will always put its members first and be responsive, reliable, and resourceful—the power you can count on.

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