Editorial: KCEC members – Show up, speak up

Posted 6/6/19

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, ostensibly owned by its thousands of customers, is holding its annual meeting Saturday (June 8) at the Taos High School gym.The big question is: Will enough of the …

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Editorial: KCEC members – Show up, speak up

Posted

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, ostensibly owned by its thousands of customers, is holding its annual meeting Saturday (June 8) at the Taos High School gym.

The big question is: Will enough of the cooperative's members show up to conduct official business?

Three proposed bylaw changes are on the agenda, including one that would allow 18-year-olds to serve on the co-op board. An official vote on the changes requires a quorum of registered members to be present when ballots are cast.

This year the magic number is 459. That's the number of members who need to show up and vote.

The cooperative has struggled in recent years to coax a quorum of members to turn out for the meeting. KCEC has offered child care, games for the kids, raffle prizes and cash incentives.

All to no avail.

In 2018, only 411 out of 22,884 members showed up at the high school gym, registered and stuck around for some important votes. It wasn't enough to make the quorum. A vote was held anyway after a heated debate but the KCEC attorney said it wasn't legal.

Once again this year the cooperative is attempting to bribe members into showing up and sticking around for the meeting. KCEC is offering hefty cash prizes, a couple of scholarships, stuff for kids to do and lunch after the meeting. Will it be enough to get members to the gym?

People have been disgruntled with some of the shenanigans on the KCEC board in past years and some customers have groused about actions taken by the cooperative's CEO Luis Reyes.

Certainly KCEC members complain about the cost of their electricity.

A lot is at stake. KCEC embarked on an ambitious plan a couple of years ago to divorce from Tri-State Generation and its coal power in favor of dramatically increasing solar power. The divorce was expensive; KCEC is still paying for it and so are customers. Reyes says the divorce will pay off in a few years. Can the board and Reyes back that up?

Find out. Show up Saturday between 8-9 a.m. Grill your elected board and Reyes and representatives from Guzman Energy, which partnered with KCEC in the solar plan and will also be on hand at the annual meeting.

The meeting Saturday is an opportunity to question them about their decisions, hear about their plans and vote on bylaw changes.

It's a chance to learn where your electricity comes from and what it takes to keep your lights on.

It is one more way to practice democracy.

Get there. Listen. Ask questions. Vote.

Coffee with the Editor

Want to talk about story ideas? Come chat with editor Staci Matlock over a cup of coffee Thursday (June 13) at 7:30 a.m. at the iconic El Taoseño Restaurant, located at 819 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos.

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