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I am pleased to report to you, our member owners, that the State of MVEC remains strong and vibrant. We are proud to say that we have always been known for our integrity. Integrity is one of our core values. That means we are committed to honesty, with respect to ethics, laws and each other.
In 2019, your co-op added 4,171 new services, giving us a total of 130,629 services in place.
Last year, we built over 97 miles of energized lines, giving us a total of 5,347 miles of line. As of December 31, 2019, we had 271 employees.
Magic Valley Electric remains the 3rd largest electric cooperative in the State of Texas, and the 22nd largest in the United States.
Our auditor recently told us that each year, MVEC grows the equivalent of one small rural electric cooperative, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 members.
We are indeed fortunate to have been founded in 1937 and to have been a vital part of the tremendous growth in the Rio Grande Valley since then.
Our generation and transmission supplier is South Texas Electric Cooperative, which we refer to as STEC. It produces electricity from a diversified portfolio of resources. This includes lignite (coal), hydro, natural gas, wind and solar. In recent years, where coal had been the primary source of electric generation, natural gas and renewable energy, like wind and solar, have steadily replaced coal as generation resources.
Nuclear energy is emissions free, with no greenhouse gases, or other air pollutants. But its tremendous cost to construct and the problematic disposal of its hazardous waste makes it a less desirable energy source.
Studies indicate that because of the decreasing costs of green energy, all new electric generation brought online in the future will be primarily wind, solar and natural gas. You can see its continued growth in both Western Hidalgo and Starr counties.
Batteries have for a long time been a resource to power portable devices, but their application in large-scale operations was not financially feasible. This is changing.
Today, battery storage on a utility scale is becoming cost effective and can be used to supplement renewable energy resources.
This integrated form of energy is a much better investment of members’ money and will allow a more versatile energy resource.
Renewable energy and battery storage are game changers that will allow us to store large amounts of energy and use it when needed at a later time.
Cyber-attacks are a threat that wasn’t even on our radar five years ago. But today, we take them seriously because they are a true threat. We have a dedicated IT team that monitors and protects our computer system and its connection to the internet, to ensure that we keep our and our members’ information secure. Last year, cyber-attacks cost businesses world-wide over 2.7 billion dollars. At Magic Valley Electric, we have on-going training to make sure our employees remain aware of any potential threats.
Rarely does a month go by, that one of our members doesn’t report a possible phone scam. Ruthless crooks use spoofing software on landlines and cell phones, attempting to extort money and information by posing as Magic Valley Electric employees. If you ever receive a call demanding immediate payment or your power will be disconnected, be aware that MVEC never makes this type of call. If you receive a call like this, do not give any personal or financial information. Hang up immediately and contact your local law enforcement agency and Magic Valley right away.
As the sale of electric vehicles continues to grow, it will increase our demand for energy. We do not know what the total demand will eventually be, but we do know that 33,000 electric vehicles were sold and registered in Texas during 2019, and this figure will continue to grow. There is, by the way, a new, 4-wheel drive electric pickup coming out soon. This could be a nice addition to our fleet of service trucks.
As we look ahead, we see a change in energy and technology that will reshape our world as we know it. The key to our success is to communicate using modern technology but give old school service and attention to our youngest and oldest members. We will do this by looking out for their various interests and needs, like we have done for 83 years.
Working closely together as a team, members, employees and your board will ensure that we always have adequate access to safe, affordable and reliable electric power delivered by a modern infrastructure.