Special Meeting of Members 10/20/20 to Receive Election Results


Meeting of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc. Members

10 A.M on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors have called a special meeting of the members for the purpose of receiving the results of the member vote on proposed bylaw amendments.

The special meeting will be held at 10 A.M. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.  Given the current restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, this will be a virtual meeting with no physical location.  As was done with this year’s annual meeting, the special meeting will be held via Zoom Webinar.


Pursuant to NHEC’s bylaws, ballots were mailed to members in September. Members voted by mail or electronic ballot on whether NHEC’s bylaws should be amended to give the Co-op the ability to respond more quickly to emerging opportunities and also to give NHEC greater flexibility in the use of “controlled affiliates” in the exercise of its existing ability to facilitate or offer “other goods and services,” including broadband and/or telephone services, to its members.

No action will be taken at the meeting, other than the presentation of the voting results as required by the bylaws.  The agenda will be:

  1. Secretary’s report of a quorum
  2. Reading of the notice of meeting by the Secretary
  3. Presentation of results of the vote
  4. Adjournment

Voting Opens on Proposed NHEC Bylaw Amendments

PLYMOUTH, NH – Ballots are mailing today to members of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC), who will decide if the company’s bylaws should be amended to make it easier for NHEC to provide access to broadband internet for its members.

Members have the option of returning a paper ballot, or voting securely online using the login codes provided in their paper ballot mailing. The deadline for returning ballots is October 14, 2020. The proposed amendments must be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters casting ballots.

The member vote marks a milestone in NHEC’s efforts to expand access to broadband internet to its members. The NHEC Board has explored ways it could help improve access to broadband internet for several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added urgency to those efforts. In response to NHEC members’ requests for help, the NHEC Board has voted unanimously to approve the proposed bylaw amendments.  The bylaw changes would allow the NHEC Board to move quickly and efficiently to pursue broadband opportunities.

A special meeting will be held at 10 A.M. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 for members to receive the results of the vote.   Given the current restrictions on gatherings, the meeting will be held via Zoom Webinar. Registration and login information for NHEC members will be provided with the ballot and on NHEC’s website: www.nhec.com/broadband.


NHEC President: Broadband Is the Next Essential Service

This opinion piece was written by NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino and appeared in several New Hampshire publications.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold earlier this year, it closed schools and businesses and forced many New Hampshire residents to work from home or participate in remote learning. It’s been inconvenient and frustrating at times, but with a good internet connection it was possible to adapt to this changing world. For tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents without access to broadband internet, however, connecting to the “new normal” has not been easy. In fact, the pandemic has further exposed a digital divide that threatens to leave a substantial number of Granite Staters behind.

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative has long recognized that a vibrant local and state economy requires a broadband infrastructure that supports economic development, improved educational opportunities, and a modern electric grid. For several years, the Co-op has explored options to help our member-owners connect to broadband internet, especially in the more rural parts of our service territory where the need is acute. As a non-profit cooperative founded in 1939 to bring light and power to unserved areas of the state, NHEC is well positioned to once again meet the needs of our member-owners, this time by ensuring that everyone served by NHEC has access to high speed internet.

To move forward on this goal, we’re asking NHEC members to vote on proposed changes to the rules that govern how the Co-op operates. NHEC’s bylaws allow us to provide “other goods and services” to our members, but they don’t provide the flexibility our Board of Directors needs to take advantage of emerging opportunities, many of which unfold quite quickly, like accessing government funding and forging new business partnerships. In mid-September, NHEC members will have the opportunity to change NHEC’s bylaws to allow the Co-op to explore available options to ensure our members have access to the internet they need.

The NHEC Board of Directors unanimously recommends approval of the proposed bylaw changes because they believe that NHEC can provide this essential service for our members while safeguarding the viability of our core mission – delivering safe, reliable and affordable energy and energy solutions to our members.

The COVID-19 pandemic and our members’ requests for help have made clear that access to high speed internet is nearly as important today to rural New Hampshire as electricity was in 1939. Broadband internet increases property values and is an essential business tool. But in real terms, it can be the difference between a resident in a rural town starting a home business or being forced to move elsewhere for a better internet connection. It means that a 5th grader in the North Country can get the same educational opportunities as a student in another part of the state where broadband service exists. The reality is that, over time, families and businesses will be reluctant, and in most cases unwilling, to locate in towns where they don’t have access to high speed internet service.  We hope Co-op members will support the proposed bylaw changes and help us bridge the digital divide.

We are still in the early days of what will be a multi-year effort to ensure members have access to broadband internet, but what is already clear is that we need to amend the Co-op’s bylaws to go down this road. We invite you to keep up on our efforts and all the latest news on our website: www.nhec.com/broadband.

NHEC to Hold Member Vote to Further Broadband Efforts

PLYMOUTH, NH (August 13, 2020) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors has voted unanimously to propose amendments to the organization’s bylaws. These proposed changes would provide NHEC with additional flexibility as it explores various options to ensure its members have access to broadband internet. NHEC members will receive ballots in September for a special vote on the proposed amendments.

As NHEC has explored various options and opportunities to expand high speed internet access, it has become apparent that the organization’s bylaws do not provide the flexibility needed to enable the Co-op to take advantage of emerging local, state, and federal funding opportunities. While NHEC can provide its members with services and goods other than electric service, like broadband, the bylaws require a lengthy approval process of the business and funding opportunities for these other goods and services.

Earlier this year NHEC held its annual election to fill vacancies in the Co-op’s Board of Directors. As part of that election process, a group of NHEC members petitioned to add a ballot question adding “facilitating access to broadband internet for members” as one of the purposes for which NHEC was formed. This ballot question fell just short of achieving the two-thirds necessary for adoption, and NHEC’s founding documents were not amended. The vote that will be held in September is intended to amend only NHEC’s bylaws and does not change the Co-op’s primary focus on providing electric service. The proposed bylaw amendments would have been necessary even if the earlier vote had passed.

NHEC members will be able to vote by mail or electronic ballot on whether the organization’s bylaws should be amended. If the proposed amendments pass, the Co-op will have additional flexibility to enable the Board of Directors to quickly explore and pursue opportunities to provide all members with access to affordable high speed internet service. These opportunities include applying for local, state, and federal funding, partnering with other organizations, creating an affiliate to provide broadband, or potentially owning and operating a broadband network. The change in the bylaws would allow NHEC to pursue these options with approval from either the Board of Directors or by a member vote, depending upon the details of the opportunity.

“As a democratically governed cooperative, NHEC’s member-owners have a direct role in setting the Co-op’s priorities,” stated Tom Mongeon, Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors. “I hope all members will vote in this special election and support the proposed bylaw changes to give the Co-op the needed flexibility to explore all broadband options.”

“The Co-op has been working diligently to explore and evaluate every avenue available to provide members with affordable, reliable, high speed internet service,” said Steve Camerino, NHEC’s President and CEO. “Through that work it is clear that our current bylaws need to be updated to reflect the speed at which opportunities are emerging.”

A special meeting will be held at 10 A.M. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 for members to receive the results of the vote.   Given the current restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting will be held via Zoom Webinar. Registration and login information for Co-op members will be provided with the ballot and on NHEC’s website.

The text of the proposed bylaw amendments will be posted on NHEC’s website on or before August 20, 2020 and will be included on the ballots and in ballot-related materials to be mailed to members in September.