President’s Message – January 2023

Get Involved! Attend the Annual Meeting

Jimmy Black headshot
Jimmy Black

One of my favorite events is coming Saturday, May 6, when Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative (GCEC) hosts our annual meeting for you, the members we proudly serve, at our headquarters in Wewahitchka. This event is a great opportunity for me and our employees to talk with members and hear what’s on their minds.

During the meeting, we will share a few brief business updates. But we’re going to have a lot of fun, too! We will have activities for the children, tasty food, prizes, informative booths and live music.

We thank you in advance for getting involved. Your participation means so much to us.

Spending time to hear your take on our community’s energy future is important to us because everything we do is shaped by the members of our community. As I’m sure you know, the energy industry is in the midst of massive change. Consumer needs and changing technology impact nearly every aspect of managing and delivering energy to homes, schools and businesses.

As we navigate major changes in the coming years, what you and your neighbors tell us will shape our planning as we strive to meet the long-term needs of all GCEC members.

You have a say. You may wonder if your opinion makes a difference. It does! Gaining guidance and perspective from our members and board helps set priorities for the co-op and guide decisions. At our annual meeting, we raise issues for voting consideration by the general membership. That’s everyone who pays for electric service from GCEC.

The annual meeting is also a time for members to vote on the co-op’s board of directors. Our board is comprised of 9 members who live and work in our local service area, so they are positioned to know where community investments are most needed.

Your electric bill is an investment in our community. This local input means those closest to the community know its needs and priorities and help direct where the coop’s dollars are spent. Every year, we invest funds on system updates that help maintain reliability and grid resilience. Think of it this way: Your electric bill payment is an investment in your community because all the money we take in stays here in local communities and ensures you have reliable power for everyday life.

Most consumers likely don’t equate involvement with their electric company with helping their community. But GCEC is not an ordinary utility company. We’re a co-op. Our business model is meant to serve the members and the community where it operates.

Our core purpose is to provide safe, reliable and affordable power. But as a co-op, we’re also motivated by service to our community rather than making profits. We hope you exercise the benefits of your co-op membership and join us for the annual meeting May 6.

We look forward to seeing you!