These last few weeks have allowed us to connect with our supporters around Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) territory, with dozens of REC member-owners joining us for a community gathering in Sperryville and a night of free tacos and good conversation in Berryville. These events have hardened our resolve to fight for transparency and member control in our co-op!
We’re excited to continue holding community events throughout REC territory in coming weeks and months. If you’d like to help us organize a small or large event near you, please contact us at email@example.com.
SCC hearing postponed
Previously, we’ve let you know about the planned hearing before the State Corporation Commission (SCC), originally scheduled for December 11. However, the hearing has now been postponed. Here’s why.
The case was filed with the SCC by three REC members—who are co-founders of Repower REC—way back in July. The petition before the SCC simply seeks to allow REC members to put bylaw proposals on the ballot for the co-op’s 2019 annual meeting. However, while both the petitioners and REC contend that the SCC has jurisdiction over the matter, the SCC staff recently filed a report arguing that the SCC actually doesn’t.
The staff’s recommendation is not the final word in the matter. The hearing examiner must also make a recommendation and ultimately the three SCC judges make the final decision.
But in light of the new issues raised by the staff, the hearing examiner decided to postpone Tuesday’s hearing, while he considers the arguments about jurisdiction. While the delay is disappointing, the three REC members are determined to continue fighting the case until there’s a resolution—either from the SCC or in a state court if the SCC determines it lacks jurisdiction (or in a settlement if REC’s board becomes willing to engage in dialogue with the petitioners).
What we’re fighting for
It’s worth remembering what the three petitioners and Repower REC co-founders are seeking. Virginia law and REC bylaws say that electric co-op members have the right to propose changes to co-op bylaws, for a vote by the co-op membership at its annual meeting. The proposals at issue seek three simple, modest reforms: (a) full disclosure to all co-op members of total board of director compensation, (b) allowing co-op members to observe board meetings, and (c) clarification of the proxy form used in board elections to make it clearer and ensure that voting members’ intent is reflected in election outcomes.
Because of these recent delays, co-op members will now most likely not have a chance to vote on these reforms at the 2019 annual meeting (because the 500 petition signatures must be submitted around February 1). But we hope that this will be resolved to get the reforms on the ballot in 2020.
In the meantime, we’ll keep you informed about the many other ways that Repower REC and our growing community of supporters can push for much-needed reforms at our co-op.