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Beartooth Electric Cooperative Transparency

Carbon County News
Letter to the Editor
December 12, 2017

Beartooth Electric Cooperative Transparency

Thank you to Eleanor Guerrero for her December 7, 2017, Guest Editorial: BEC should stay transparent. In reading this article, it occurred to me that this is probably not what Beartooth members want to be reading regarding the potential for lack of transparency at their Cooperative. I guess from my perspective as Board President; nothing could be further from the truth. Transparency has become one of the core values of Beartooth Electric and our members fully expect it. Transparency is one of the key factors that allowed Beartooth to overcome the Southern debacle of years ago.

The Board and Manager of Beartooth recently completed a very successful two-day Strategic Planning Workshop that will set a very clear path for Beartooth in forthcoming years. One of the key outcomes of that workshop was to renew our Pledge to our members. Let me share that Pledge with you.

The Trustees and Employees of Beartooth Electric Cooperative Pledge to:

·       Listen, understand, communicate and act in the best interest of all members.

·       Solicit and encourage member involvement.

·       Adhere to the highest ethical standards of trust and respect.

·       Operate our business in a financially sound and transparent manner.

·       Perform our work in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible.

·       Encourage the wise use of energy, and

·       Follow the Seven Cooperative Principles.

The Board and Management of Beartooth unanimously support this Pledge.

Communication will be key to understanding the level of transparency we provide at Beartooth. Going forward you will actually see more communication in a couple of new formats. You’ve heard it before; communication is a two-way street. Members need to be engaged in their Cooperative and provide feedback, participate in the various Committees, attend board meetings and continue to communicate with their elected board trustees and staff.

The Communication Committee, chaired by board member Richard Nolan is working with members, General Manager Owens and staff to take this input to develop a multi-channel communication plan. This plan includes print media: the monthly Rural Montana magazine, billing inserts, and news media releases; electronic media: the BEC website, Facebook page and bi-monthly Connections email; and community Town Hall meetings. New communication vehicles including direct mail, new member welcome materials and member engagement initiatives. When you look at the year ahead--a new metering system, investigation of new rate designs and exploration of renewable energy options sends a clear message to all of us to communicate and communicate often.

Pre- and post-board meeting information may be obtained at the BEC office, online at our website www.beartoothelectric.com or directly from your trustees or general manager. Members who embrace email communications may sign up to receive the Beartooth Connections bi-monthly emails on our website home page at www.beartoothelectric.com. These emails contain meeting information with links to information like the board book containing committee reports, the latest financials, staff reports, board action items and current news topics. I would encourage you to get on our email distribution list.

In addition, to better understand member energy usage, desired energy programs, interest in community solar and standard operating data, a member survey is planned during first quarter 2018. This will be a telephone survey with online option conducted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Market Research Services.

In closing, let me clear up a little confusion regarding the next BEC Board of Trustees Meeting, it is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9 at the BEC office to commence at 12:00 noon. However, there is a Finance/Risk Management Committee meeting scheduled on Thursday, December 14 at the BEC office, also scheduled to commence at 12:00 noon. The agenda is the 2018 Budget Review and 3rd Quarter Financial Review.

Submitted by

Julie A. Lindgren
BEC Board President

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