Steve Douglas United Power board of directors
Steven Douglas won the United Power Board of Directors seat by 3,614 votes in the East District.
Tamra Waltemath ran unopposed and was re-seated with 5,918 votes in the mountain region, and Virginia Buczek retained her seat with 4,003 votes in the West region.
According to a news release, the winners were announced on April 12 at the annual meeting. More than 7,000 ballots were cast.
"No matter what the future holds, providing reliable electric service will always be at the core of our business," said Board Chair Beth Martin. "We made great strides in 2022 – strengthening our system, improving reliability, and protecting our communities."
James Vigesaa received 1,960 votes to win the seat in the South district. Jamie Klein received 1,272 votes in the South district and Ken Kreutzer received 1,876, and Katherine Mills received 1,455 votes.
Virginia A. Buczek retained her seat, receiving 4,003 votes in the West district. Thomas Hogan was a distant second in the West district, receiving 2,510 votes to Buczek's 4,003 votes.
Robert "Rob" Masden received 2,994 in the East District, behind East District winner Douglas.
The residents in the different regions voted via mail-in and electronic ballot voting. According to officials, electronic balloting voting was added by the United Power cooperative in 2022 to provide voters with a fast, secure, and convenient way to avoid mailing delays.
According to officials, about 700 members and guests watched a video presentation of cooperative accomplishments, such as United Power continuously updating the mitigation plan to protect its community members from wildfire dangers, removing vegetation growth on 40 miles of line, covering the poles with fire retardant, and update red flag warning procures for wildfire conditions.
It is also rolling out and expanding electric vehicle EV charging stations in member regions and offering an EV wiring rebate. The cooperative renewed for a third year the member choice grant for a total of $12,000. It allows the member to nominate local non-profits for the grant.
"Underlying all of these accomplishments is a dedicated team of United Power employees working to ensure they meet your needs," said Mark A. Gabriel, United Power President & CEO. "Over 180 cooperative employees arrive every day ready to put you first. They keep our systems secure and strong, take pride in working safely, and make sure that our members' needs are met."
Keith Alquist, United Power's Board Treasurer, presented the financials reporting another strong year.
Gabriel ended the meeting with a presentation of the future of the electric industry, continued economic prosperity through tax revenue, and job opportunities within communities. He discussed the importance of local generation, self-generation, and technologies controlling its solid electrical grid.
"A distribution utility like United Power stands at the crossroads of a changing energy industry and needs to transition from a simple distribution operator to managing a system that is agnostic to inputs and flexible enough to handle both centralized power and local generation," he said.
To watch the videos and presentations at the 2023 Annual Meeting, including the cooperative's 2022 Annual Report, visit www.unitedpower.com.