East Peace Gas Co-op AGM held on March 26, was in some regards a milestone, marking the first full year that E PG Co-op has been at its location in Falher.
In his manager’s report, Dale Dupuis described the past year as “far from normal.”
While construction showed little growth, sales on the other hand were the highest in EPG Co-op’s history.
Dupuis attributed the record high sales to a “wetter than average fall and a higher than normal load in one section of the oilfield services industry.”
Higher than anticipated gas sales volumes in the first two months of 2018 were also record setting, and Dupuis says that this will contribute substantially to staying in a profit position through the summer.
He was also more optimistic regarding construction for 2018, saying that it looked somewhat stronger with the motivation for growth in this region being in farm units upgrading their grain dryers, which is resulting in significant cost.
While government says there are no new revenue dollars, in 2017 it has taken in excess of $645,000 in Carbon Levy and an additional $33,000 in GST, solely from natural gas consumption in this region.
Dupuis’ report also made an important observation about natural gas being greener compared to other non-renewable energy.
“We are the greenest form of nonrenewable energy there is, yet there is no green money available to us to replace other high carbon fuels.”
He goes on to state in his report that the opposite is actually the case, with the creation of levy exemptions for those in the fuel sector with a higher carbon footprint.
Dupuis also cited good growth in EPG Co-op’s retail side, saying the greater exposure at the new location was certainly a contributing factor.
“We see this service side as a need in the community versus competition with existing suppliers,” he said. “There is a reasonable expectation to be able to grow this service at a reasonable cost to residents.”
In the chairman’s report, Gerard Noel talked about work undertaken and completed at the new location in the past year, such as the new cold storage facility to house pipe and noncritical equipment.
He also talked about plans under consideration for later this year, for the installation of a concrete apron across the rear of the building and aprons at the two front overhead doors “if compaction seems adequate as well as finances.”
“There are also a few fixes due to settling and operational changes,” Noel says in his report, “but we are proud to say we have heard nothing but accolades in regards to this facility.”
He also mentioned the addition of 6 rural domestic, 6 commercial services and 1 grain dryer upgrade and 10 Regulator stations over the past year.
“This infra-structure replacement and construction of 7 km of pipe system were done at a cost of approximately $180,000 dollars,” he said. “Only $53,000 of this will qualify for any grant monies as the majority of the works are non-grantable commercial or upgrade projects.”
Noel also stated that grants are now a larger concern as project costs are escalating with the budget provided by Government now falling far short of the qualified dollars.
“We are expecting to see near 40 percent shortfalls in grant dollars payable on 2016 construction,” he said.
Speaking on succession planning, Noel mentioned the hiring of a new staff member and that along with succession, EPG Co-op is growing its gas home service side of the operation.
“There is a real lack of providers in the region,” he said. “Our goal here is not to provide competition but to fill an obvious need in the community.”
At the conclusion of his report, Noel asked the membership to support the Co-op’s initiatives and suggested that the members contact the directors and office with their “thoughts and comments to insure we remain a strong value to this community.”
Before the adjournment of the AGM, manager Dale Dupuis presented the annual ACCA (REDA) Leadership Camp Bursary Award to student Chloé Cloutier.