PLYMOUTH, NH – On the occasion of its 75th Annual Meeting of Members, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) took a look back at its pioneering past and a look forward to a challenging future with major changes in store for the regional energy industry.
More than 175 members and guests attended the Annual Meeting, which was held June 3 at Prospect Hall on the campus of Plymouth State University.
“This cooperative was founded on the principle of people working together to achieve a common goal,” said NHEC President/CEO Fred Anderson. “It is because of all the people who have come before us that we have achieved the goal of putting the power in your hands. They are the ones for whom we are grateful today.”
Founded in 1939, NHEC was incorporated by a group of farmers and rural residents who, with help from the New Hampshire State Grange and the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), sought to bring the benefits of electricity to areas of the state that were unserved by the private utilities of the day. From its first stretch of electric line that served a few dozen families in towns surrounding Lempster, NH, NHEC grew steadily over the years to serve 83,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities.
As part of the 75th anniversary, the Co-op unveiled a copy of a newly-released book that chronicles the company’s history. Titled “Putting the Power In Your Hands: The First 75 Years of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative,” the book is a thoroughly researched account of the challenges and successes the cooperative has experienced in lighting up the New Hampshire countryside for the past seven decades. Members also enjoyed dinner catered by Sodexo Catering and a post-meeting raffle.
A number of dignitaries sent congratulatory messages on the occasion of the Co-op’s 75th anniversary, including U.S. Congresswoman Annie Kuster, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who recorded a video that was played to the annual meeting attendees.
Two people with long associations with NHEC were honored for their contributions to the Cooperative. Former NHEC Director Gail Paine of Intervale was recognized by a Board of Directors resolution named her Director Emeritus, acknowledging her 30 years as a member of the NHEC Board and 19 years as the NHEC representative on the Board of Directors of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Also recognized was Clint Hutchins, NHEC Manager of Member Solutions & Marketing. Hutchins, who plans to retire in July after a 44-year career at NHEC, was awarded the Carol A. Tracey Customer Service Award. Presented by the Northeast Public Power Association (NEPPA), the award recognizes employees of NEPPA member utilities who deliver outstanding service to their consumers.
Company officials also announced the results of the election for three open seats on the NHEC Board of Directors. Three incumbents won re-election to seats on the Board.
Returning to the Board for three-year terms are Joan Aubrey of Jackson, Harry Viens of Center Harbor and Bruce Wiggett of Plymouth. Members also voted 5,772 to 670 to approve a minor amendment to the NHEC Bylaws.
Board members are elected by NHEC members, who cast ballots annually to fill seats on the 11-member Board of Directors. NHEC is a democratically-controlled cooperative. All NHEC members are eligible to vote or run for election to the Board of Directors. This year, 6,878 members cast ballots.