CHELCO holds annual meeting virtually

Special to Gannett
CHELCO VP of Member Services and External Affairs Emily Cowan and Production Manager RJ Murdock prepare to film a portion of the meeting.

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS —  For the second consecutive year, Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative Inc. (CHELCO) held its annual meeting virtually with no members in attendance due to COVID-19.

In an internet stream beginning at 10 a.m. April 17, more than 130 viewers tuned in for updates on the co-op announcement of the board of trustees election results, scholarship awards and a prize drawing for those who voted in the board election.

CEO Steve Rhodes addressed the viewers watching from home with a hopeful attitude that our world is slowly getting back to the way things once were.

“What a strange and challenging year it’s been,” Rhodes said. “Safe to say it was a year most of us will never forget. Like all of you, we’re tired of the pandemic and want to get back to normal life. The good news is that it appears we are getting close to that point.”

Board Attorney Jeff McInnis announced the Board of Trustees election results, with incumbents Lee Perry of District 1 and Bert Prutzman of District 7 being re-elected to the board for three-year terms. In District 9, Dwayne Davis defeated incumbent Burt Cosson, who served on CHELCO’s board since 2009.

In what he called the “best news of the day,” Rhodes announced that beginning with the May billing, CHELCO will reduce rates by $1.2 million, or 1%, over the next 11 months. He also provided an update on the construction of the 25,000 square foot addition to the Technology Center in DeFuniak Springs, which is expected to be completed in early 2022.

Following the business portion of the meeting, prizes were drawn for those who voted in the board election, and six scholarships were drawn for CHELCO members and member dependents.

For those who were unable to tune in live, a full recording of the annual meeting is available at