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Rural cooperative earned almost $64 million in 2016

March 18, 2017 • Local News

A rural electrical cooperative that serves Chaves County as well as other regions told its members that demand is down due to a slower oil and gas economy but that the organization remains financially strong.
“In 2016, the price of oil has dropped to the low $40s (a barrel) and we saw less demand for energy,” said Chuck Wagner, the board president of Central Valley Electrical Cooperative Inc., based in Artesia. “Yet our cooperative has remained financially strong.”
Wagner and General Manager Charles Pinson Jr. told about 150 of its members at its annual [auth] meeting at the high school auditorium in Artesia on Saturday that the company is a doing well in terms of revenues, margins (or profits) and assets.
The CVEC has 4,098 members and 15,594 meters in portions of Chaves, Lea, Eddy and Otero counties. The cooperative also has about 4,008 miles of transmission lines. It purchases its power from Xcel Energy and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative. Western Farmers provides only about 20 percent of the cooperative’s power now but will become the sole provider of energy for the group by 2026.
According to information presented at the meeting, assets for the cooperative grew $10.4 million from the previous year to $191.1 million by the end of 2016. The company earned $7.38 million in operating margins and $9.9 million in total net margins on revenues of $63.9 million.
Pinson said that the $3.9 million decrease in revenues from 2015 was due primarily to decreased energy sales as a result of the oil and gas downturn.
Pinson also told the audience about a successful series of federal lawsuits against Southwestern Public Service Co., now Xcel, that won settlements of $2,095,866 for the group, with legal fees totaling $689,699.
Both Pinson and Wagner said that the cooperative will engage in a rate study but do not at this time anticipate increasing rates charged its members.
During the meeting, members voted to re-elect two board members for additional three-year terms. Michael Bennett of Hope will return to the seven-member board as a representative of District 7, while Wesley Pilley of the Dexter-Hagerman area will represent District 4.
Staff writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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