Your Connection to Grand Valley Power
by Thomas Walch, Chief Executive Officer
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - (July 24, 2023) In a few days you should receive your Grand Valley Power Director Election Ballot materials in the mail. Please don’t just toss it in the trash. We don’t want you to think for a minute that this is junk mail or some attempt to sell you something. No. This piece of mail can be one of your most valuable connections to your cooperative.
Being a member-owner of Grand Valley Power gives you the right to vote for the directors who make up the organization’s governing board. Serving on this board is serious business. The nine GVP members who sit on our board set the tone and direction for everything our cooperative does.
Our stellar safety record and strong reliability numbers are to a large degree a byproduct of board emphasis on these areas. Directors ensure that the cooperative does what it takes to remain on strong financial footing. They shape our company’s approach to environmental issues. Members of the board participate in the development of strategic plans on topics including the use of technology, workforce development and compensation. If none of those board activities strike you as meaningful, keep in mind that directors are responsible for ensuring that the rates paid by GVP consumers are effective, fair and equitable. During my time here at GVP, nothing has highlighted the critical role of our directors like their analysis and deliberations leading up to the notice of contract termination we recently sent to Xcel Energy and the power sales agreement we signed with Guzman Energy.
If the role of directors is so important, shouldn’t the ballot you receive to elect those directors be important too? Evidently, a big majority of GVP members don’t think so. Every year we send out about 16,000 ballots to our members. Every year, only 10%–15% of those ballots are returned. In a sense, it is not accurate to say that our directors are elected by the membership; it is closer to the truth to say that they are elected by 10%–15% of the membership. This does not reflect an engaged, connected membership.
How can you be an engaged, connected member of GVP? Exercise your right to vote. But maybe even more important than making some marks on a ballot and dropping the envelope in the mail is making informed decisions about the way you vote. A few years ago, I featured one of my favorite quotes of Winston Churchill in this magazine: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” As I said then, when there are important decisions to be made by the voters, it is imperative that they make themselves better than average.
One of the great things about being a relatively small cooperative is that you may know something about the candidates running for the board. Even if you don’t know the candidates, chances are pretty good that you have a friend or neighbor who knows something about them. With candidates taking greater advantage of technology, you also have the opportunity to find out more about them on websites and social media platforms that are accessible to virtually everyone. Our connected world makes it easier for you to make informed choices on just about everything. It certainly makes it easier to be a connected member of Grand Valley Power. With a connected membership, our organization can only get stronger.
One final note: You always have the option to cast your GVP director election ballot at our annual meeting. Whether you vote by mail or in person, attending the meeting on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. at the Colorado Mesa University Meyer Ballroom is another great way to connect and engage with friends, neighbors, and with your cooperative.