450 Attend UEC Annual Membership Meeting
With a theme of “It’s the Water … Powering Our Communities,” about 450 people attended Umatilla Electric Cooperative’s 81th annual meeting on April 21 at the Hermiston Community Center.
The co-op handed out 30 door prizes, with a grand prize of a beach vacation at Newport. Musician Frank Carlson provided entertainment, and Bonneville Power Administration brought its “Hydro Flows Here” display for members to enjoy.
Elected to three-year terms were incumbent Bryan Wolfe in District 3 and Phil Hamm in District 4. Vance Crafton was on the ballot in District 3, and incumbent Bob McPherson in District 4.
The vote-by-mail election began on March 28 and concluded at the beginning of the meeting.
In his report, UEC General Manager and CEO Robert Echenrode said the demand for electricity in UEC’s service territory is rising at a pace unsurpassed in the Northwest.
“We are in an envious position compared to other utilities,” he said. “We continue to grow because our community continues to grow.”
“In 2013, we reached annual sales of 1 billion kilowatt hours—it took us 77 years to reach that mark. We doubled that last year, and by 2019 we expect to sell 3 billion kilowatt hours.”
One highlight of the year was energizing the Hermiston East Substation near the intersection of East Elm Avenue and Diagonal Road.
The substation serves both UEC and Hermiston Energy Service customers. It is connected to power supplied from two separate points of delivery from the Bonneville Power Administration, offering greater flexibility and service availability.
“This coming year, a top priority will be preparing to build our McNary-to-Hermiston Butte transmission line,” he said. “It will add another critical element on our system to serve our members’ needs.”
On another front, “We are helping our communities plan for a ‘green energy corridor’ that would connect renewable projects in southern Morrow County to the Northwest grid,” he said. “Combining projects in one corridor will maximize the region’s overall energy capacity and minimize disruption caused by future renewable projects.”