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report to members


BY KENNETH J. GATES, Chief Executive Officer Choctaw Electric Cooperative


T


he theme for our 2016 Annual Report is “Target: Excellence,” which exemplifies the endeavor your cooperative team puts forth


every day to continuously improve the quality of service and provide electricity at the lowest possible cost. Your cooperative directors, managers, and employees are diligent in their efforts to listen to our members to better meet their needs. We do not accept mediocrity and are committed to excellence. Cooperatives are different from other utilities. We put our member/owners first. We are of, by and for our members. We are locally owned and operated. We are here to serve you.


Financial Performance


Choctaw Electric Cooperative (CEC) must be accountable to its consumers and its lenders to maintain a strong financial position that enables continued safe, reliable and reasonably priced service for current members and future generations. CEC closed 2014 with an operating loss of $3,409,168. By the close of 2015, our equity and key financial ratios were in line with peer groupings, and we minimized short-term borrowing. We closed out the year with an operating margin of $2,533,570. Te net margin for 2015 was $6,034,921, up from $2,066,463 in 2014. Te important point to remember is that as a not-for- profit co-op, CEC is not interested in selling you something you don’t need. We are not about maximizing sales; we’re about maximizing member satisfaction.


Service Reliability


Te Operations and Engineering department ensures that the overall system is well maintained. Tis team is responsible for planning ahead for future needs and continually monitoring existing equipment and resources. Clearing right of way is an ongoing challenge. Te rainy season over the last two years made several areas difficult to access and created a rapid growth of


vegetation. We have upgraded to more efficient equipment and hired a right of way clearing company to assist our crews, ensuring that future right of way maintenance is completed on a timely basis. Tis will help reduce outages and momentary interruptions caused by trees coming into contact with power lines.


Safety


Safety is a top priority for CEC employees and members, and the public-at-large. To nurture an ongoing culture of safety, CEC holds safety meetings monthly for employees. Co- op linemen routinely practice pole top rescue procedures, and all of them are trained in CPR. We share our knowledge by offering CPR training and safety demonstrations to the community. CEC employees are very proud of our safety culture and are committed to not only their well-being but also the well- being of our members and the public. CEC received a certificate of safety achievement in May from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) recognizing the commitment to employee and public safety, regulatory compliance and loss control practices. Safety awards encourage co-ops to create a culture of safety in the workplace and beyond through greater awareness, employee training, and safety programs.


Quality Improvement


CEC’s Employee Quality Improvement Council is new for the co-op. Te Council is comprised of a supervisor from each department and an employee from each department elected by their peers. Teir goal is to streamline work processes, increase productivity, efficiency, reduce costs, and improve communications among departments. Te result is improved teamwork as employees gain a better understanding of how each department can contribute to the others success. All employees are equal and rotate chairmanship of the council. Te Council addresses topics


derived from business needs, input received from members and employees, and aligned with our cooperative’s mission statement. Trough the Council, employees will participate in the decision-making process and capitalize on opportunities for improvement through team problem solving. Te objective is to exceed member and employee expectations.


Community engagement


CEC employees are committed to making their communities even better places to live, work, and play. On average, your co-op employees volunteer over 5,000 hours a year through their involvement in civic organizations, youth groups, church activities and more.


Training and Education


To provide you with service excellence, our board of directors, staff and employees participate in educational opportunities to become more knowledgeable of industry issues, strategic planning, legal requirements, technology, equipment and interpersonal relationships. We can never be complacent and must always strive to be better.


Finally, I want to express my appreciation to the board of directors for their support and leadership in promoting continuous improvement within our organization. Also, I want to recognize our employees for their commitment to excellence and team unity. CEC’s corporate culture embraces honesty, trustworthiness, and the cooperative spirit to guide our decisions and actions on a daily basis. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you.


CEC Annual Report • 3


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