Rural localities, businesses to gain access to REC’s emerging fiber network

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) members selected three of their peers to serve on REC’s board of directors, although a recurring topic of its recent meeting was how REC can support making broadband in rural Virginia a reality.

More than 6,400 members participated in the election by returning their proxy designation card or attending the meeting Aug. 15 at the Fredericksburg Conference Center.

Region II director and chairman of the board, Christopher G. Shipe, and Region III director and vice-chairman of the board, Darlene H. Carpenter were unopposed and were re-elected by acclamation to serve a three-year term representing all members of the  ooperative.

In Region VIII, three candidates ran to represent REC members: William C. Frazier, Eric T. Paulson and Douglas Y. Webb. Frazier was re-elected to serve another three-year term on REC’s board of directors.

“This is one of the most important benefits of belonging to an electric cooperative,” said Christopher G. Shipe, REC’s chairman of the board. “Your board members are members of the cooperative, just like you. We live in your communities. Our kids and grandkids go to your local schools. We volunteer with local groups, and we care just as much as all of our members do about receiving safe, reliable and affordable electricity.”

REC’s president and CEO, Kent D. Farmer, shared a thorough report with the membership. He noted REC is taking steps to ensure business continuity well into the future and to embrace technology by continuing to offer online tools and mobile apps that provide easy access to electric account information.

A recurring topic for the evening was how REC can support making broadband in rural Virginia a reality. Farmer explained that REC is installing a fiber utility network to ensure the technology is in place to support the electric infrastructure. REC can and will partner with local governments and individual businesses by giving them access to REC’s fiber network to serve members in rural areas.

Farmer also announced a new program that will launch in September for members interested in solar energy. Farmer said, “REC has launched the Cooperative Sunshare program to make it easier for all members to embrace clean, renewable solar power. Through Cooperative Sunshare, members can purchase blocks of solar power from REC without installing a solar system at their homes.”

In addition, Farmer discussed REC’s plan to serve members who own or plan to own an electric vehicle by collaborating with state and local officials to make charging stations available around the area.

Farmer noted the co-op’s true values can be found in its commitment to the communities it serves. Each year, the co-op participates in over 200 local events throughout REC’s 22-county service territory.

“The communities we serve are the backbone of everything we do,” Farmer said. “We believe in doing our part to help schools, emergency groups and nonprofits, because we are all in this together. Your communities are our communities.”

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