OPALCO to hold 74th annual meeting and board of directors election

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative is a local electric cooperative that is owned and operated by its members. On Saturday, May 14, the member-owners will exercise their right to elect their Board of Directors.

Who is a member of the co-op? Anyone who receives an OPALCO power bill has a membership (there may be multiple names on a membership, but each membership equals one member). In this year’s election, there are two positions in District 1 (San Juan, Brown, Henry, Pearl and Spieden Islands) on the ballot. District 1 candidates running are Vincent Dauciunas, Dave Hylton, Mark Madsen, George Mulligan and Ron Zee. Each member can vote for two candidates. Candidate bios are available at

OPALCO’s governing board consists of seven directors who are elected for three-year terms, with the elections staggered by district. Each director is elected by a vote of OPALCO members and all members may vote in every election, regardless of their home district. Each membership gets one ballot regardless of how many meters or accounts they may have.

Why does OPALCO have an annual meeting? The annual meeting is required by OPALCO’s bylaws and by the federal government. It is a key component of our status as a 501 (c) 12 cooperative, which saves our member-owners from the rate burden of paying taxes, gives OPALCO a preferential position with federal lenders and allows OPALCO to set rates on a cost-of-service basis. In exchange, members have the responsibility to show up and vote; a quorum of at least 100 members is required at the annual meeting for the election to be held. Members who turn in their absentee ballots will be entered into a drawing for six $50 bill credits.

Ballot packages with absentee ballots will be arriving in mailboxes this week and the 2011 annual report is available online at (or pick up a copy at OPALCO offices, county libraries or senior centers). Absentee ballots must be received at the Eastsound OPALCO office no later than Friday, May 13 at noon. Ballots can also be cast at the annual meeting on the ferry, Saturday, May 14 where the election results will be announced.

Due to the spring ferry schedule, the meeting is early this year. Members from San Juan Island will need to arrive at the Spring Street Landing at 7 a.m. to register for the meeting and board a charter vessel (call 376-3549 to reserve a spot); Orcas members should arrive at the ferry landing to register at 8 a.m.; Lopez members register at the ferry landing at 8:40 a.m.; and Shaw members board the ferry at 9:10 a.m.

Members and their families who attend the annual meeting will be treated to a healthy brunch.  Every member who attends will receive a $5 credit on their next bill (one credit per membership) — and there are free gifts for everyone in attendance. Every member has a chance to win one of more than 50 door prizes such as power and garden tools, gift certificates, kitchen tools and appliances, camping and sporting equipment, OPALCO bill credits, art and merchandise from local businesses. If you are a local business and would like to contribute a door prize, contact Bev at 376-3549.

This year’s annual meeting is superhero action-packed with "CFL Charlie" in costume to roll out the "Together We Save" energy efficiency campaign; local energy superhero building performance analysts on hand to talk about OPALCO’s Home Snapshot Energy Assessments; the first annual Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth Scholarship awards; and the unveiling of OPALCO’s new green power program: MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy).

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