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CEO’s Message – January 2024

Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

Happy New Year! As January comes to a close, I want to take some time this month to reflect on my first full year serving as CEO of Stearns Electric and give you a preview of our top priorities for 2024. 

2023 HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Completed a Cost-of-Service study and, as a result, implemented a rate adjustment. Prior to 2023, the last rate adjustment by the Cooperative was in 2018. 
  • Announced the planning of a new headquarters facility. 
  • Worked with the Minnesota Rural Electric Association on educating lawmakers on the Department of Revenue’s actions to devalue the longstanding property tax exemption for electric cooperatives and promoting modifications to the 100% Carbon Free by 2040 bill. 
  • Launched outage notifications through SmartHub. Members can now sign up to receive outage notifications through text message or email. 
  • Completed the first-of-its-kind Mean Green Electric Lawn Mower pilot project in partnership with Lynx National Golf Course, Mean Green Electric Mowers and Great River Energy (GRE). 
  • Celebrated the $3 Million milestone through our Operation Round Up® program. 
  • Completed inspection, maintenance and construction activities to maintain a high level of electric service reliability. A few activities included: conducting infrared inspections throughout our distribution system, upgrading the Westwood Substation transformer and winding-up the third year of our four-year Right-of-Way tree clearing cycle. 

Last year was a busy year and we have already begun working on this year’s goals. 

2024 INITIATIVES: 

  • Conduct a strategic planning session with the Cooperative Board and Stearns Electric leadership. 
  • Work with our architect and construction manager to complete the design and bidding, and potentially break ground on a new headquarters facility in the Spring or early Summer. 
  • Work with GRE to rebuild transmission lines and upgrade the voltage feeding the Westwood Substation. 
  • Complete the second four-year Right-of-Way vegetation management cycle. 
  • Launch the redesigned SmartHub online platform and explore other tools available through our technology solutions provider. 
  • Complete a large-scale member survey to gain deeper understanding of member preferences and insights. 
  • Continue working on the Cooperative’s 2023 property tax valuation appeal. 

Thank you for your patronage and support this past year. We value all of our member-consumers and are here to serve you. A special thank you also goes out to our employees who work hard every day to serve our members and accomplish our mission of providing reliable electric service, beneficial energy solutions and a positive member experience. 

Sincerely,

Matt O’Shea
Chief Executive Officer

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