Dear Members,
January is an ideal time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the new one. 2020 has seen many challenges, but it has also born successes. And those are the things I want to reflect upon most, because they lay the foundation for a bright future.
Our region has felt the terrible effects of the pandemic. To get through, we leaned on our cooperative values of helping one another and caring for the community. Like everywhere, for the health and welfare of our members and our employees, we adjusted our daily operations. Since March, our headquarters building has been closed to outside traffic and our mobile convenience center has been grounded. Despite that, thanks to technology, you’ve been able to conduct business with us, and us with you, very effectively. We are glad of that, but from my perspective, we are all looking forward to the day when we can meet again face to face. We miss our members, who are some very special people.
How do I know that? There is no better example than through our collective Operation Round Up efforts. I want to congratulate and praise every member that participates. Through your generosity, even during a pandemic, in 2020 the foundation was able to grant over $127,000 to 19 LOCAL charitable organizations. Included in those 19 donations were $2,000 gifts to15 non-profit food pantries in WCEC’s service territory. That is $30K worth of food that fed those in our communities that needed it most. That is a big deal. Moreover, since the first donation in 2017, a total of $358,707 has been given to local charitable concerns. Together, you poured these blessing into our community, and I pray they will come back to each of you.
I must mention, spring 2020 had its weather challenges, but we met them. An especially active storm season caused wide-scale outages within WCEC’s system, which took time to repair and restore. Then, our transmission provider, AEP/SWEPCO, dropped service multiple times to us and, ultimately, thousands of WCEC members. In ongoing discussions with them, they acknowledged reliability issues and committed to upgrading their facilities. The good news is they have acted upon this promise and are working hard on their construction plan. We know electricity powers your necessities and your enjoyment, and that remains our focus, as we work for you. 
In closing, I want to thank each member for supporting your electric cooperative through your patronage. A member’s economic participation is an important part of what makes us a cooperative, and that that goes both ways. For 2020, the board voted to retire capital credits of just over $2 million, 32% of 2019 margins. That money was returned to eligible members as a credit on their December bill, and credits over $300 were returned via a check. The return of patronage capital credit is just one of the many ways non-profit electric cooperatives are set apart from investor owned utilities. It is also one of the reasons I’m glad we are a cooperative. I hope this financial return helped lighten the load of the season.
On behalf of the WCEC family, we wish every member a joyful, healthy, and prosperous new year. 
Respectfully and in your service,
Trey Teaff
CEO & GM, Wood County Electric Cooperative