Well, it’s been another year and while I cannot say exactly what the new normal is, one thing that has remained relatively unchanged is your electric cooperative. With the global pandemic seemingly winding down which has given life to new economic challenges even further compounded by a war in Europe, we’re happy to say that at your electric cooperative, things remain relatively unchanged. I would like to share some of our recent success as well as point out some possible challenges on the horizon.
First and foremost, 2021 was another outstanding year. As we focus on our mission statement to deliver Safe, Reliable and Affordable energy, we met or exceeded all our goals. 2021 saw no serious preventable injuries, no work procedure errors or lost time injuries. Reliability of our system was exceptionally strong, delivering upper quartile results in both SAIDI (total customer minutes) and CAIDI (restoration times). We also had one of our strongest affordability years, as we easily met our equity target, reduced member controllable expenses by over $100/member and concluded the year with a TIER (Times interest earned ratio) of 3.24.
2021 also marked a year of opportunities as we concluded both our Iowa and Missouri FEMA disaster projects from the 2019 flooding event. Once closed out, these projects will provide a nice economic boost which looks to be very timely with some uncertainty looming. In addition to the FEMA disaster projects we actively pursued FEMA mitigation projects for both Iowa and Missouri. I’m happy to announce we were awarded both projects and are currently engaged in both projects. Each project will provide some timely economic benefit and will go a long way in helping reduce some pressure on rates.
I would guess the one pressing question on most members minds would have to do with the direction of rates. I don’t think anyone is unaware of the inflationary pressure facing our local communities as well as the entire country. We see the largest increases in fuel and food, with scarcity of products becoming more commonplace. Although cost is a major concern, the lead times with some products and machinery is extremely concerning. We find ourselves ordering materials with no price guarantees available and lead times for some materials exceeding 100 weeks. With our fleet vehicles, delivery times are being pushed out by years.
Although we see rising energy prices at almost every level, I am very happy to say that your electric cooperative is anticipating no rate increases in the near term. Although our operating costs are increasing at almost every level, your cooperative remains in a strong financial position and will continue to work to keep rates affordable. Thank you for your patronage. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.
Kevin Dechant, CEO