From the Top with CEO Patrick Grace – September 2022

On Aug. 5, we held our first Annual Meeting since 2019, and it made me think of the leaps we’ve taken as a cooperative in those three years. Obviously, our broadband project has exploded onto the scene as OEC Fiber became viable for more and more members, but our electric membership has experienced significant growth as well. This growth specifically is what will sustain OEC for another 85 years.

Since 2019, our membership has grown 8.8%, a steady 3% per year, which is strong growth for a co-op of our size and proximity to a metro area. We now serve 47,780 members, up from 43,920 in 2019.

New commercial growth has been remarkable and has contributed to an increase of 20% in electricity consumption compared to 2019. This increase in demand and usage for OEC is not necessarily unique to us, as the Southwest Power Pool has experienced increased demand for power across their 14-state service area over the last three years. A November 2020 ice storm, Winter Storm Uri in 2021 and extremely hot summers are all historic events that have contributed to this increase.

OEC Fiber has taken tremendous leaps as well, growing from 1,400 miles of fiber line across our seven-county service area in 2019 to close to 3,300 miles of line today. We had about 2,500 subscribers in 2019 and have grown at record speeds to now serve reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to over 30,000 subscribers.

We are proud to say all OEC members now have access to high-speed broadband thanks to the efforts of OEC’s entire team and Board of Trustees.

On the subject of OEC’s Board of Trustees, I am happy to announce the appointment of Debbie Frazier as the District 3 trustee. The board voted to appoint Debbie at the July board meeting, and I invite you to learn more about her on page seven.

Thank you to those who attended our Annual Meeting, and have a safe start to your fall season.

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