Directors re-elected during Tri-County annual meeting

TROY — Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative members returned three incumbents to the cooperative board of directors during the utility’s annual meeting on July 25 at the Troy Fairgrounds.

Incumbent directors Nicholas Reitter, of Genesee, Matthew Whiting, of Lawrenceville, and Lowell Geiser, of Galeton, unanimously were re-elected to represent Districts 3, 5 and 9, respectively.

Nearly 700 members registered for the annual meeting, which took place at Alparon Park in Troy in conjunction with the Troy Fair. Meeting attendees heard election results, as well as business reports from cooperative President and CEO Craig Eccher and board Chairman Matthew Whiting.

During his president’s report, Eccher said the cooperative is committed to providing its members with safe, reliable, reasonably priced electricity.

“We do this by making strategic system investments, ongoing maintenance, prudent financial decisions and, most importantly, through the talent and dedication of our employees,” he said.

The CEO also updated members about the cooperative’s plan to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet service to a portion of its service territory in Potter County later this year. The proposed pilot project will ultimately help the cooperative determine the feasibility of offering high-speed broadband internet service to Tri-County members throughout the cooperative’s service territory.

“Cooperatives may be the only option to bring true broadband to rural areas, just like it took cooperatives to bring electricity to those areas,” Eccher said.

Whiting also detailed the co-op’s focus on fiber optic technology during his chairman’s report. He noted that bringing high-speed broadband to rural areas, while a daunting and expensive task, could be a boon to economic development in the region.

“Almost every business and industry, from the medical field to manufacturing, transfers large amounts of data that require high-speed connectivity,” he said. “Communities that don’t have that are disadvantaged compared to those that do, so if we can find a way to deliver that, I think we’ll see some economic benefit.”

During a reorganizational meeting that immediately followed the annual meeting, Whiting was re-elected as the cooperative’s chairman of the board. Alfred Calkins, of Troy, was re-elected vice chairman of the board, and Alston Teeter, of Milan, was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

Unlike investor-owned utilities, Tri-County is a non-profit organization owned by its consumer-members. A democratic organization by nature, the cooperative conducts an annual meeting to update members on the progress made during the past year and to announce results of director elections.

Annual meetings also provide members with the opportunity to offer input and voice concerns before the board of directors and management staff.

With headquarters in Mansfield, Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative has served the residents of northcentral Pennsylvania since 1937. Today the cooperative provides electricity to 16,700 members in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Clinton, McKean and Cameron counties.