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Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:29

SteelmanAfter nearly two decades of helping ensure West Central Electric Cooperative members received the most reliable service at the lowest rates possible, director and vice president Ron Steelman has retired.

“Being a cooperative director was a great opportunity to serve our members,” said Steelman, who also said he was sorry to see his time on the board end. “As a board member, I never felt like I served just Lafayette County. I felt I should serve all members for the good of the cooperative. Had the changing of the districts last year not eliminated this position and forced me to retire, I would not have made that decision.”

Steelman, who was elected to the board in 1995, has served in various capacities throughout the years, including many years on the WCE and John and Kathryn English Memorial scholarship committees. Steelman has been an advocate for cooperative youth programs that provide opportunities for area students to broaden their horizons and gain an education.

“One of the best programs WCE has is our scholarship program,” Steelman said. “We hear lots of negative things about our young people, but members should be proud of these young men and women who take the time to apply for these scholarships, as they are moving in the right direction and will make WCE’s future brighter.”

Seeing area students vie for a spot in Missouri’s delegation on the Rural Electric Youth Tour was also a highlight for Steelman, who rarely missed a finals competition during which WCE’s representatives were named.

“The Rural Electric Youth Tour is one of those life-changing experiences that only a lucky few are privleged enough to receive, and I am so pleased that West Central can be a part of providing that experience to students right here in our own backyard,” he said.

Steelman said it has been a pleasure to serve on the board, and that he enjoyed his time immensely.

“This is definitely a worthwhile endeavor for any member to get involved in helping to run their cooperative,” he said. “It was my privilege to meet and get to know so many members over the years.”

Steelman and his wife, Debbie, live in Odessa.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 13:25

The heavy, wet snow which consumed the area on Feb. 26 caused havoc for approximately 55,000 electric cooperatives across the state of Missouri, according to the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. That included more than 5,200 West Central Electric members.

“The majority of our problems were caused by snow falling off the lines and trees and causing the lines to gallop, or hit each other,” WCE General Manager Mike Gray said.

Crews fought a losing battle most of the first day, with outages coming in faster than they could be repaired. Linemen were also hampered by poor road conditions causing trucks to get stuck while trying to get to outage locations. 

WCE received assistance from crews from United Electric Cooperative of Maryville/Savannah, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative in Kearney and Atchinson-Holt Electric Cooperative in Rock Port.snowstorm

All outages were repaired before midnight March 1.


Friday, 08 February 2013 11:26

Representatives of West Central Electric Cooperative met with Sen. David Pearce Feb 4-5 during the 7th annual Legislative Conference hosted by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City.

They joined with more than 200 rural electric cooperative leaders from across Missouri for the two-day event intended to keep them informed on statewide issues that could adversely impact their ability to deliver safe, affordable and reliable electric service to the state's 650,000 cooperative members. Topics addressed included metal theft, right-of-way access for rural broadband Internet, net metering and transmission.

With a theme of "Powering Communities, Empowering Members," this year's conference also gave cooperative dirWCE managers visit capitolectors, managers and staff the opportunity to visit face-to-face with their elected officials, both during capitol visits and at an evening reception.

Attending the reception were (l-r) WCE General Manager Mike Gray, Sen. David Pearce, WCE Member Services Manager Steve Moore and WCE Branch Manager Brent Schlotzhauer.


Friday, 10 August 2012 13:51

Record numbers of members turned out for West Central Electric’s 73rd annual meeting, with an official registration of 1,023 members and more than 2,500 in attendance.

During the business meeting, members considered and passed 554-398 a bylaw amendment brought forth by member petition which redraws the cooperative district boundaries. Under the bylaw change, the cooperative will be divided into four physical districts, with two directors from each district. A fifth “at-large” district, will allow for one director from anywhere in the service area.

Members also participted in the election of directors. Incumbents Paul Nolte, Clark Bredehoeft and Dale Jarman were (L-r) Paul Nolte, Clark Bredehoeft, Dale Jarmanelected to serve three-year terms.

In his annual report to the members, General Manager Mike Gray updated members on operations and maintenance as well as the financial state of the cooperative. He reported that only 97 new services were added to the system in 2011, down from 115 in 2010. To date, the cooperative has added 50 new services in 2012.

 “These numbers tell us that the economy, or at least the housing market, is still sluggish,” he said.

Gray told members that maintenance and system upgrades have been the top priority of construction crews over the past year, and that a new Construction Work Plan, as well as long-range plans to outline system improvements will begin in the coming months.

On the financial side, Gray told members that while revenues were less than expected, expenses were also down. He mentioned that the cooperative finished 2011 in good shape with margins just over $1 million. He addressed the April rate increase to cover an increase in wholesale power costs, and said at this time, he doesn’t feel that a rate increase will be necessary in 2013 as long as the weather cooperates and the EPA does not do anything that would cause wholesale power costs to go up.

Members also heard from Board President Clark Bredehoeft, who told them that cooperatives are helping to build a better world. He outlined youth progrms such as the Rural Electric Youth Tour, the Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience and scholarship programs as ways the cooperative supports the youth of our communities. He also informed members that while some of the cooperative's competitors have recently applied for as much as a 14 percent increase in rates, WCE is remaining stable with only a 7 percent increase. Bredehoeft told members that a recent survey shows WCE rates as the second lowest in the NW Electric group, and slightly lower than the closest competitor, KCPL.

“Not only is it the goal of your board of directors to make the cooperative the very best it can be for every one of our members, it is also our desire to build a better world around us,” said Bredehoeft, drawing reference to the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives’ theme.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 10:16

If you are interested in high-speed internet, West Central Services, a subsidiary of West Central Electric Cooperative can help.

A new satellite called Exede has been launched, and boasts download speeds 12 times faster than the old WildBlue middle package. Speeds for all packages are up to 12M download and 3M upload.

Purchase packages based on the amount of upload and download you want per month.

WildBlue customers may choose to stay on their current satellite and plan, or change to the new Exede. Current WildBlue customers who transfer to Exede will receive a $100 discount on equipment.

Prices for Exede start at $54.99 per month. You also get basic installation free, 24/7 domestic technical support, local, on-site technicians and no lease fees. Service does not require a land line. Equipment is $199 ($99 for current WildBlue customers) and the contract length is 24 months.

Contact West Central Services for more information or to sign up for service.

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