WREA holds annual meeting, says goodbye to GM Richard Welle

Richard Welle, who will be retiring as general manager at White River Electric Association in October, played host and presided over the annual meeting of WREA stockholders last week at the Freeman E. Fairchild Center in Meeker.
Richard Welle, who will be retiring as general manager at White River Electric Association in October, played host and presided over the annual meeting of WREA stockholders last week at the Freeman E. Fairchild Center in Meeker.
RBC I White River Electric Association celebrated its annual stockholders’ meeting Sept. 11 at the Fairfield Community Center, also commemorating the Sept. 11 anniversary with a moment of silence and a patriotic theme.
In addition, the board and membership celebrated retiring general manager Dick Welle’s impressive 38-year career at WREA while welcoming new general manager Alan Michalewicz to the WREA family.
The membership enjoyed a lunch served by the Meeker Lion’s Club, entertainment from a nationally recognized actor who portrayed Benjamin Franklin and of course there were lots of gifts and a grand cash prize of $500. The WREA board of directors was pleased with the turnout of 178 registered members.
Three incumbent directors ran unopposed for three-year terms. Anthony Mazzola retained his seat for the Town of Meeker and Rich Parr and Bill Jordan retained their seats for the Rural District. The membership received updates from Tri-State Generation & Transmission, Western United and the Colorado Rural Electric Association.
Alan Michalewicz, introduced to stockholders at the annual meeting, will take over for Welle as general manager of WREA.
Alan Michalewicz, introduced to stockholders at the annual meeting, will take over for Welle as general manager of WREA.
The WREA annual meeting follows the disbursement of capital credit checks. Earlier this summer, the board approved the retirement and payout of $543,251.63 in capital credits. As a result, a total of 1,615 checks were mailed out to WREA member consumers on Aug. 23. White River Electric rotates capital credits on an average of a 17-year rotation. White River’s member consumers are its owners and the board pays out capital credits similar, in concept, to dividend checks based on a specific year’s margins. WREA board president Gary Dunham said that retiring and paying out capital credits represents one of the fundamental principles of being a cooperative.
“It is our job to return capital credits to our members when the cooperative finances allow,” he said. “Our members endured a wholesale and internal rate increase in 2012 and we know that these capital credit checks were a welcome envelope in the mail.”
All members are encouraged to update White River Electric with their forwarding address when they leave the system so that capital credits are sent to the correct mailing address. In addition, a deceased member’s estate may request an early retirement of capital credits from White River Electric.