Over 500 Hill Country energy consumers gathered in the Fredericksburg High School Auditorium on August 16, as Central Texas Electric Co-op hosted its 64th Annual Members’ Meeting. CEO Robert A. Loth III welcomed them and introduced Board President Michael Randolph and the ten other CTEC directors in attendance. Reverend Bill Treude, retired Methodist pastor, provided an invocation. The business of the meeting included the election of three directors. Co-op members had previously nominated the following members to represent their respective districts at District Meetings held in June: W.C. “Dub” Stewart, District 4 (Llano County area); Charles E. Pearson, District 5 (Gillespie/Blanco County area), and James S. Ball, District 6 (San Saba County area) were all elected by acclamation. As the cooperative’s bylaws stipulate, a CTEC director’s time on the board is limited to four three-year terms.As in previous meetings, a video presentation was shown in lieu of formal reports from Loth or Randolph. Loth started the video by saying, “One of the things I like best about my job as CEO of Central Texas Electric Cooperative is the opportunity I have to work with the members that we serve – the members who own the cooperative. It happens every day – talking on the phone, or meeting one-on-one with members who have questions about our operations. You don’t see this kind of interaction in many other businesses, but it’s a common, everyday occurrence at electric cooperatives.”Loth continued by shifting the focus to the directors leading the way on the board of directors. Coming from all walks of life, they are businessmen, engineers, educators and ranchers. For example, Loth spoke about Michael Randolph, an unassuming rancher from Cherokee, has served the last two years as the board president. Some big decisions were made during that time, and due to term limits, Michael would be leaving the board after this meeting. With his laid-back horse sense approach, Michael served as a great example of what’s good about member involvement in a cooperative.Randolph said, “For the past twelve years I have served as your cooperative director from San Saba County. As I look back on some of the accomplishments chalked up by CTEC over that time, I can’t help but swell up with pride. Some of the things we’ve done are plain to see; others may not be as obvious to many of our members, but still have a lasting impact. Some of these accomplishments include:· A new power supply arrangement with CPS Energy of San Antonio, assuring that CTEC will have an affordable, reliable source of energy for the next decade.· Building a new headquarters building in Fredericksburg 10 years ago - a functional state-of-the-art facility that will serve us for years into the future.· We also have an improved rate structure, with rates only slightly higher than they were when I came onto the board in 1999.· We’re really proud of our employees’ remarkable safety record - currently three years and counting without a major accident or injury. · We have stuck with a commitment to providing CTEC members with Internet access, making WildBlue, a high-speed satellite based service, available to every home in our service territory. To succeed in all these ventures, our board and management have overcome a lot of obstacles. I am privileged to have worked with so many great directors during my twelve years. It has also been my honor to work with CEO Bob Loth and his management team. But I think I am most proud of our employees. They are the real reason for the success of our cooperative, and in my view, they are the best group of employees in this or in any other business.”Loth added that many of CTEC’s members apparently share in this opinion. The board of directors recently commissioned National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Market Research unit to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. “When it comes to the performance of our cooperative, the members’ opinions are what really matter”, Loth said. The yardstick used was the American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI. This is the most recognized consumer satisfaction index in the country. It’s used by the biggest and most successful businesses around to gauge how their customers feel. Here is what the survey revealed: The highest rated investor-owned utilities in the country came back with ACSI scores in the high 70s and low 80s. The average score of all Touchstone electric cooperatives topped the best of these IOUs with an ACSI rating of 83. Central Texas Electric Cooperative ranks in the upper echelon of these cooperatives, with an ACSI score of 86. CTEC was rated “much higher” than co-op norms for charging reasonable rates and delivering good value for the money and was rated as “excellent” in a number of key attributes. CTEC’s employees received the highest marks for having a highly trained, professional workforce, and employees that are friendly and courteous.Randolph concluded, “I believe the future is bright for CTEC. But we still have a lot of work ahead of us. CTEC is still tied to LCRA until 2016 unless we can find a way to get out of the contract before then. As the years come and go, keeping our rates affordable will always be a challenge. Making sure that each class of members is paying their fair share will always involve a balancing act. We’ve enjoyed success because we have stayed true to our cooperative roots. We have to stick with it. I believe that the continued success of our co-op depends on member participation. I appeal to all of our members to get involved: ask questions; run for the Board if you feel you can contribute; and attend member meetings.We’ve had big changes in the past few years, and more big changes are on the way. One thing remains the same: the board and staff of Central Texas Electric Co-op will remain focused on keeping your lights on; at prices you can afford to pay.”Following the video report, Loth gave special thanks to several employees with extended tenure at the cooperative, including veterans like L.C. Schneider, 45 years of service; Rosie Meurer and James Tinsley, 35 years; Kevin Wood, 30 years: and 25-year employees Adolf Gold, Kenny Peterson, Billy Winn, Wayne Smith, Max Moreno, Randy Stahl, and Arthur Wunderlich.Afterward, Loth and Randolph offered a brief question-and-answer session for members, giving them an opportunity to voice their concerns and comments. No questions were voiced. The meeting was adjourned, and the Board of Directors met in an organizational meeting to name their officers for the coming year. They are: Gerald Kaspar of Kingsland was elected to serve as board president; along with Mason’s Riley Kothmann, as vice-president; Prairie Mountain’s Stanley Keese, as treasurer; and Sunrise Beach’s W.C. Stewart, as secretary.The meeting ended with Michael Randolph awarding 41 door prizes that were all donated by the co-op’s generous suppliers.