To the Editor,

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative is in the midst of an election for three seats on its board of directors. The process involves voting on a proxy form attached to the July issue of “Cooperative Living” magazine. 

REC members can also vote on REC’s website at myrec.smarthub.coop or by attending REC’s annual meeting in person in Fredericksburg on August 22. This year, the three incumbents are being challenged by the three of us, running on a reform platform. Voters can see our positions at www.recreformcandidates.com. 

We bear no animus to any of the current board members and thank them for their past service. 

Here are some examples of how new board leadership could improve REC. A neighboring utility, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, has shown that an electric cooperative can bring high-speed internet to rural Virginians. There’s no reason REC can’t do the same thing, but it will require a board willing to challenge management to act with vision and speed. Without fast internet connections, rural communities will spiral downward. 

Also, REC’s current board touts the company’s Cooperative SunShare program as supporting solar, but when you calculate the cost of power in this program against the current cost of electricity you wind up paying more for participating. This is certainly not an incentive, and meanwhile REC’s board recently approved measures to slow the growth of rooftop solar by raising fixed monthly access charges. Again, REC can do better with the right leadership.

We also think that REC’s board meetings should be open for cooperative members to observe. Board members are paid handsomely, from around $30,000 to as much as $48,000 per year. We should be able to see what the board members do in exchange for that much money for a part-time position on a nonprofit board.

We think that REC’s high board pay needs to be reviewed. If elected, two of us will be contributing a portion of our pay to charities through the duration of our term.

We are running to not only maintain safe, plentiful and reasonably-priced sustainable energy, but to add to the welfare of the community through improved internet, reduced expenses and transparency. We urge you to vote for us in this year’s board election.