CEO’s Message – December 2022

Heading Toward a Happy New Year

scott peters headshotAs we turn the page on 2022, all signs indicate that it was another successful year for Columbia REA, and that we will start off 2023 in a very good place.

For starters, we will begin the year with a new board director. Philip Mehlenbacher was appointed by the Board in November to replace the recently retired Vic Parks as a District 2 board director. Per the Cooperative’s bylaws, Philip will be on the ballot as a District 2 candidate in our annual Board election this coming April, seeking a regular three-year term.

Our Board of Directors also recently voted to approve our 2023 budget, which included two bits of very good news: 1) there will be no rate increase in 2023, and 2) Columbia REA has accumulated no new debt. Your co-op is very healthy financially for the foreseeable future!

We have also installed four new electric vehicle charging stations in our main entrance parking lot, including the only DC fast charger currently open to the public in Walla Walla. As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, and a clean energy future, we now have 6 EV chargers at our headquarters in Walla Walla, two for company and employee vehicle use, and four available to the public. We have also built a solar energy carport over the four new EV charging stations. So while you are charging your car in the shade on a hot summer day, the solar panels overhead will be feeding clean, green, renewable power back into our system. It is a thrill for us to share these new resources with our members and with the community!

And 2023 is also the Year of Fiber! Columbia iConnect, our high-speed internet provider subsidiary, has already launched its new fiber-optic internet service in Touchet, with Dayton service on the horizon as well.

You can register now on the Columbia iConnect website, and let us know you’d like to see fiber-optic internet in your area. Touchet area residents, sign up now while our technicians are in your area!

We also want to make sure you know that financial assistance is available for qualifying households. Columbia REA participates in programs such as Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program, which can help you lower your monthly internet and phone bills. This resource is available to existing customers and new customers alike. Go to the Columbia iConnect website, and click on “Payment Assistance Programs” to learn more.

Lots of good things on the horizon in 2023! Best wishes to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from all of us at Columbia REA.

Scott Peters, CEO