UDWI passes 2022 budget, looks ahead at plans for the new year

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (Dec. 21, 2021) – The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC held its December board meeting Monday where CEO Doug Childs presented the 2022 budget to the Board of Directors.

Highlights of the budget include planned capital credits distribution of nearly $685,000, and a capital improvement budget totaling $4.862 million dollars with over $2.25 million allocated to planned construction improvements on current and new infrastructure. 

“Construction costs are exceptionally high right now due to the pandemic,” Childs said. “We are relying more and more on our internal crews to perform construction upgrades for us. We are grateful for the team we have and the great amount of work they completed this past year.” 

The board also discussed how the cost of power from Hoosier Energy is increasing, forcing the cooperative to pass on these costs to members. As a result, members will see an increase of around $3 per megawatt-hour in the new year, an average annual increase of approximately $40.

This increase is not a result of UDWI raising its base rates, which saw a decrease in recent years. Hoosier Energy, as the Generation and Transmission Cooperative, provides wholesale power to distribution co-ops like UDWI through its own electric generation facilities or by purchasing power on behalf of the distribution members. Hoosier Energy is facing higher costs for natural gas, coal and purchased power. Power costs from Hoosier Energy account for approximately 60 percent of the monthly electric bill and, therefore, the increase from the supplier must be passed to the cooperative and its members.

UDWI has been committed to cutting cooperative costs for the last several years. Decreasing the number of staffing positions and switching health care providers allowed the co-op to cut budgets and move into an improved operating position, investing more in infrastructure and tree trimming. 

“If you had told me a few years ago UDWI would be able to go this long without having to increase our base rates, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Childs said. “Our team has done a tremendous job working to cut costs in as many areas as possible and their work has led to some great accomplishments.”

Since the start of the pandemic, UDWI has remained committed to improving the reliability and safety of its infrastructure, members and employees. The cost of supplies and materials needed for improvements increased due to inflation, but repairs have remained a priority. In 2021, crews replaced over 850 utility poles as well as 15 miles of line construction. In addition, Hoosier Heritage Management and contracted vegetation management teams cleared nearly 70 miles of right-of-way, sprayed herbicide and chemical vegetation management over 50 miles, and mowed another 22 miles. 

In other board news, capital credits were distributed in November; nearly $467,000 was retired to members for the years 1968-69.

The UDWI Annual Meeting and director elections will be held on April 19, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the cooperative headquarters in Bloomfield. Districts 3 and 6 are up for election. Candidates that are interested in running for UDWI’s Board of Directors must pick up a candidate packet from the central office and turn it in completed by or on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. More information will be in January’s newsletter and can be found on UDWI’s Facebook page.

The next UDWI Board Meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. An announcement regarding the location of the meeting will be made closer to that date on social media and UDWI’s website.

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Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC), located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

Erin’s Purpose receives grant from UDWI’s community fund

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (Oct. 28, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC’s Community Fund donated over $13,000 across nine local organizations in September, including $3,000 to Erin’s Purpose for its youth center construction.

Founded in 2020, Erin’s Purpose is a faith-based organization that works to empower youth in the Greene County community. After losing her daughter Erin to suicide, Terri Neighbors launched the non-profit in Erin’s honor to help save the lives of those who are living, or help them find a purpose for their lives.  

“Life is so awesome and we are meant to have an abundant life,” Neighbors said. “I just want everyone that I come into contact with to know and to feel this and to believe it.” 

The grant received by Erin’s Purpose will be used to reimburse the organization for the investment made to remodel its youth center. The center, located in Bloomfield, is a space that offers support groups, meals and counseling and service opportunities.  A weekly community group, Overflow, is offered on Tuesday nights where a meal is shared before breaking into groups for bible studies.

Erin’s Purpose is always in need of community volunteers and financial sponsors. To learn how to get involved, visit Erin’s Purpose on Facebook.

“Community groups working together is a big component of what we want to instill at Erin’s Purpose. I believe there is power in numbers and when a community, whether it’s group organizations, churches, businesses or individuals, comes together for good, powerful things can happen; individual growth, community growth, and healing can happen,” Neighbors said.

The grant was given as part of UDWI’s Community Fund, a non-profit organization created by the cooperative that provides members with an avenue to make a difference in their communities. The program allows members to round up their energy bills to the next whole dollar to create the funds. Then, the community fund board awards the amount collected to local organizations. 

“As a committee, the Community Fund discusses and evaluates each application. We try and fund areas of need, primarily those groups and organizations that provide some sort of service that is needed in our district,” said UDWI Board Member John Royal. “Since Erin’s Purpose began, it has grown in large part to the people behind it and because it is one of the few resources for kids and young adults in our surrounding communities. We feel it is a worthy cause and greatly needed resource.”

Other recipients of Community Fund grants in September included: Carnegie Heritage & Arts Center of Greene County, Inc., God’s Hands In Action, Greene County Ambulance Service, Lawrence County Cancer Patient Services, People & Animal Learning Services (PALS), Spencer Pride, Inc., Stone City Alliance for Recovery and Hope, Inc., and White River Valley Middle School Drama Club.

The UDWI Community Fund is now accepting applications for its next grant cycle. All non-profit businesses in UDWI’s service area are encouraged to apply. Please visit UDWI’s website to learn more about the program and to start an application.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

UDWI REMC, SCI REMC begin partnership to construct fiber

BLOOMFIELD and MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2021)  – The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI) and South Central Indiana REMC (SCI) announced a new, limited partnership that will bring high-speed fiber to certain unserved portions of UDWI’s membership in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. 

Starting in 2021, the two companies will work to bring gigabit broadband internet service to around 200 unserved homes and businesses in the north-central portions of UDWI’s territory.  This partnership is expected to expand to additional unserved homes and businesses in the future.

SCI REMC will leverage existing middle-mile fiber assets and partner with UDWI to attach to their existing pole plant, allowing SCI to provide internet service in the most economical and expedient manner possible. 

“It’s a special thing to be able to work together with other local organizations to achieve the same end goal,” said James Tanneberger, president and CEO of SCI REMC. “The partnership will allow SCI to bring fiber to areas that we normally wouldn’t be able to reach, and we look forward to working with UDWI on this project.”

In 2020, Indiana announced the second round of the Next Level Connections Broadband grant program, which awarded $51 million for 50 broadband infrastructure expansion projects across the state. SCI REMC was awarded two grants from the program and is utilizing one of those grants to assist in building fiber in this joint venture.

“We are grateful for opportunities that allow UDWI to serve its members in ways beyond utility service,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “This partnership allows UDWI to further strengthen its internal goal of improving service and reliability for its members, and we are excited for this project to begin.”Construction is starting soon, and it is anticipated that broadband access will be available to homes and businesses in the project area in mid-to-late 2022.


About Utilities District of Western Indiana (UDWI) REMC:Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC is a non-profit organization engaged principally in the distribution and sale of electricity in Greene and parts of Clay, Daviess, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Knox, Sullivan, and Vigo counties in Indiana. The mission for UDWI: To provide its members with electricity and quality, efficient service, while maintaining a financially healthy and rate competitive position in the industry through teamwork, mutual respect, and an ongoing commitment to our members. For more information, please visit  https://www.udwiremc.com/.

UDWI’s Community Fund provides AEDs to local veterans group

From left to right: Doug Childs (UDWI), Kim Rush (Greene County Veteran Services), Richard Nichols (Greene County Veteran Services)

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (July 27, 2021) — A grant from the Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC’s Community Fund in March helped Greene County Veteran Services purchase automated external defibrillators (AED) for vehicle use.

The organization was able to purchase two AEDs with the grant for vehicles that transport veterans to and from appointments to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Indianapolis. 

“I appreciate the added ability I have now to care for the veterans during the long trips to VAMC and back. I hope to never use this equipment, but I am thrilled to have this extra protection for our veterans on each van,” said Kim Rush, a van driver for Greene County Veteran Services. “With the AEDs, I am confident that I will be able to provide immediate response should an emergency arise on our largely rural route to the hospital.”

Greene County Veteran Services is a nonprofit aimed at supporting veterans and serves veterans, veterans’ dependents, and veterans’ survivors in the county. The organization offers assistance to veterans in filing claims for VA benefits, obtaining military records, and accessing VA services.

UDWI’s Community Fund, a non-profit organization created by the cooperative, provides members an avenue to make a difference in their communities. The program works by allowing members to round up their energy bills to the next whole dollar, and UDWI then awards the amount collected to local organizations. 

Other recipients of Community Fund grants in March included: Ainsley’s Angels of America, Eastern Greene High School Baseball Booster Club, Glenburn Home, Inc., Greene County 4-H Horse & Pony Club – Ridge Riders, Linton Fraternal Order of Police, Monroe Fire Protection 
District Open Arms Family & Educational Services, Spencer Pride, Inc., and Taylor Township Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.

“Being a part of projects that further serve our community is something that UDWI takes a lot of pride in,” said Doug Childs, UDWI CEO. “We will continue to take advantage of our position to support nonprofits in our area, and we are excited to see what Greene County Veteran Services and the rest of the recipients are going to do next for our communities.”

The UDWI Community Fund is accepting applications now for its next grant cycle. All non-profit businesses in UDWI’s service area are encouraged to apply. Please visit UDWI’s website to learn more about the program and to start an application.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry receives Community Fund grant from UDWI REMC

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (July 22, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC’s Community Fund donated over $14,000 across 13 local organizations in June, including $5,000 to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry to support its “‘Meat’ the Need” initiative.

The funds received by Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry will be used to pay processing fees on donated livestock and deer, with the meat then donated to agencies serving food-insecure residents within the UDWI 11-county service area.According to Feeding America, nearly 900,000 Indiana residents regularly struggle with food insecurity – 274,080 of which are children.

Founded in 2011, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry has paid to process 1.8 million pounds of food, providing over 7.5 million meals. Partnering with 85 meat processors statewide, the organization gives approximately 250,000 pounds of meat annually to an average of 500 hunger relief agencies throughout Indiana.

“The Community Fund contribution will allow us to continue and expand on our mission of hunger relief by providing 16,000 more meals through local hunger relief agencies,” said Debra Treesh, executive director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “We are so grateful for the continued support of our efforts in responding to the needs of those in the community facing hunger.”

The grant was a part of UDWI’s Community Fund, a non-profit organization created by the cooperative that provides members an avenue to make a difference in their communities. The program works by allowing members to round up their energy bills to the next whole dollar, and UDWI then awards the amount collected to local organizations. 

“Taking care of our community members and organizations is a privilege we have as a cooperative and we are grateful to our members for allowing us to continue giving back,” said UDWI Board Member John Royal. “During my time serving on the Community Fund board, it has become a priority to provide funds to the food banks and kitchens in our service territory and I am thankful for the work they do to serve our communities.”

Other recipients of Community Fund grants in June included: Clay County Historical Society, Faithful Fitness, Healthy Hearts Program, Knights of Columbus Council #1166, Linton Farmers Market, Linton Police Department – National Night Out, Open Arms Family & Educational Services, Pregnancy Choices, Scotland Festival Committee, Shakamak Guidance Department, Spencer Pride, Inc., and The Monroe County Civic Theater.

The UDWI Community Fund is accepting applications now for its next grant cycle. All non-profit businesses in UDWI’s service area are encouraged to apply. Please visit UDWI’s website to learn more about the program and to start an application.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

UDWI REMC conducts electrical safety demonstrations for first responders

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (June 14, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC recently completed an electrical safety demonstration for the Beech Creek Township Eastern Fire Department in Solsberry. 

The safety demonstration provided the fire department with a live line situation, which includes a small-scale representation of the equipment UDWI uses in the field. The training equips firefighters with the knowledge of how to handle downed powerlines and the series of steps to they need follow during this emergency.

“UDWI did a wonderful job with the live line demo and made sure to cover specific aspects that relate to the fire department and beyond,” said Kole Jones, captain of the Beech Creek Township Eastern Fire Department. “I think every fire department that has the opportunity to do this training should take advantage of it because not only did their team provide us with the information to be safer, but also how we can help them and make both of our jobs easier. Overall, it was one of the best trainings I have done.”

The event was conducted by UDWI team members John Sutton (Supervisor of Engineering Services), Britt Miller (Lead Member Service Representative), Curtis Hasler (Apprentice Lineman), Michael Nail (Journeyman Lineman) and Cole Riggleman (Field Technician).

“We are able to simulate outages, operate devices, and demonstrate electrical arcing during these training sessions,” said Sutton. “We appreciate the opportunity to assist first responders in staying safe.”

Education, Training, and Information is one of the 7 Cooperative Principles and a top priority for the UDWI team. The co-op has had great success keeping employees and members safe through the completion of various training and educational programs.

Over the last few years, UDWI has provided public safety training and education to law enforcement, firefighters, EMC personnel, and dispatchers in and around its service territory. In 2018, UDWI developed its own training yard to host training for its own team and other co-ops in the area.

 The UDWI team completed over 20 safety training classes, totaling nearly 800 hours in 2020. 

“Being able to meet with our community organizations and help further member education and safety is a great resource that UDWI is able to provide to the community,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “I am extremely proud of our team for continuing to promote member safety and public outreach, and I am looking forward to more opportunities like this in the future.”

If your organization is interested in receiving a safety demonstration from UDWI, please contact the office at (812) 384-4446 to schedule a training.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

UDWI Holds 2021 Annual Meeting, Elects Officers for Board

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (April 21, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC held its 85th annual meeting Tuesday at the cooperative’s headquarters and voted in a new slate of officers for its Board of Directors.

Re-elected this year are the three incumbent directors from Districts 5, 7 and 8. The current eight-member board will continue to serve as Directors for 2021-22, which includes David Burger (President), Edward Cullison (Vice President), Michael Williams (Treasurer), Sophie Haywood (Secretary), Todd Carpenter, John Royal, Dax Collins and Shawn Dugan.

David Burger, who has served on the Board of Directors since 2017, said, “I am proud to serve as the president for the board this year. We have a board of dedicated people and I look forward to continuing on the good work being done in infrastructure and new technology that will benefit our members.”

Although this year’s seats were uncontested, the cooperative bylaws require candidates to receive a mandated number of votes from the membership in order to validate the election. UDWI members had the opportunity to cast their votes online or by mail before the annual meeting or in person at the annual meeting, which again produced strong voter participation with more than 1,500 votes cast, accounting for over 10 percent of UDWI members.

“Even in an uncontested election year, our members have shown that they really care about the leadership of the co-op, which speaks volumes to the cooperative principle that calls for democratic member control,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “While we hope that we can convene in larger numbers in the future, we will continue to provide the online and mail-in options to give the most voting access to our members.”

Child’s annual meeting presentation focused on the 7 Cooperative Principles, which aim to serve the electric energy needs of cooperative members. He also highlighted achievements accomplished throughout 2020 by the co-op that adhere to the principles, which include:

  1. Open and Voluntary Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

A top priority in 2020 was the investment in renewing UDWI’s system and improving system reliability. UDWI invested over $4 million and replaced 34 miles of line last year – an all-time record for the co-op. UDWI has also contributed $800,000 to smart-grid technology over the last three years and has retired nearly $2 million in capital credits back to its members over the last eight years as part of this initiative.   

In regard to membership, Childs reported that UDWI has seen its membership grow from 18,900 meters in 2017 to 19,200 meters in 2021. And because of the hundreds of members who participate in Operation Round-Up, the UDWI Community Fund donated over $40,000 to local community organizations in 2020.

Childs also shared UDWI’s commitment to its community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op paused its moratorium on disconnects longer than the state-mandated time period and worked closely with members to offer more member-friendly payment terms to assist during the worst phase of the pandemic.

“We are proud of what we were able to accomplish during the past year despite some of the most challenging conditions that no one could have prepared for,” said Childs. “Big thank you to the entire UDWI team; everyone from the customer service representatives in the front office to our linemen in the field had to make adjustments and found a way to get their jobs done and showed amazing dedication to our members.”

Childs’ presentation is available on the UDWI website. The Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of the new term virtually on Monday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, KnoxLawrenceMartinMonroeOwenPutnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

UDWI, Varentec partner to reduce peak demand charges

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (March 11, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC is working to improve the efficiency of its service territory to lower its energy demand and increase reliability for its members.

The co-op partnered with Varentec, a leading provider of hardware and software control solutions for municipal utilities, cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities. The collaboration was centered around the Varentec Pilot Project, which utilized voltage control automation to reduce peak demand charges. 

Demand is based on the highest points of member consumption, and electric utilities need to have enough generation and transmission assets to deliver power during these peak times. To support this project in hopes of reducing charges related to peak demand and maintaining the associated assets, UDWI provided Varentec with data from meters in its service territory that allowed the company an opportunity to see data in real-time. 

“UDWI was instrumental in Varentec’s process to get a granular look at data that’s typically only seen at the substation level,” said UDWI Chief Operating Officer Shane Smith. “This was a great opportunity for our operations department to learn first-hand about this technology and we are proud of our contribution to this project.”

UDWI began working with Varentec in 2016 and ran its pilot test through the fall of 2017. Currently, Varentec is in the process of seeking a patent for a newly-generated algorithm that would help estimate the potential impact of this technique on other systems. The algorithm was developed as a result of the data collected through the partnership and the economic success of the project. It’s anticipated that other utilities will also take advantage of this new technology. 

The goal of the project was to learn how manipulation of the voltage on the line can reduce the overall demand. This will allow lower costs for UDWI from its power supplier, meaning that the co-op can purchase the same number of kilowatt-hours for a lower production cost. Once it was clear that the technology was working effectively, it was adopted quickly and is currently operating in 34 percent of the co-op’s service territory, with plans to expand to other areas when the patent is approved. 

“I am very proud of our operations team for taking a leadership role in this technology and for their successful efforts in reducing our demand charges,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “Kudos to our entire operations department for their leadership on this project.”


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

UDWI crews respond to mutual aid request

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (March 9, 2021) — The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC was one of eight Indiana electric cooperatives to send crews and equipment to assist with the power restoration effort in Virginia after ice storms moved through the state in late February.

Indiana electric cooperative sent a total of 26 lineworkers to work alongside Southside Electric Cooperative in Crewe, Virginia, to assist in the power recovery effort after nearly half of the electric distribution cooperative’s consumers were left without electricity. In addition to UDWI, crews responded from: Clark County REMC (Sellersburg), Harrison REMC (Corydon), Henry County REMC (New Castle), JCREMC (Franklin), Steuben County REMC (Angola), Tipmont REMC (Linden), Whitewater Valley REMC (Liberty).

“We are grateful to be in a position that allows us to lend our linemen to a cooperative in need. It is important to have people to rely on during a crisis, and this is a great example of how cooperatives can come together in a time of need,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “Thank you to our linemen who volunteered to make this journey and help out the cooperative in need. We are proud to have you represent our team.”

The Indiana Electric Cooperative Mutual Aid Program provides cooperative assistance in service restoration from storms or other events that result in significant power outages.

Evan Fuller (Apprentice Lineman), Ross Egenolf (Journeyman Lineman), Jordan Clark (Journeyman Lineman), and Michael Nail (Journeyman Lineman) represented UDWI by helping restore power to the more than 20,000 Southside Electric Cooperative members who were experiencing an outage. Winter storm Tabitha was quoted as the worst storm this region has seen in over 36 years, producing a mixture of snow and ice that caused a number of dangerous conditions including frozen lines, fallen trees and road hazards. 

“Southside Electric Cooperative’s system is very similar to UDWI’s, and it was unreal to see the amount of damage that occurred. It was like nothing I had seen before,” said Egenolf. “I know our team worked hard and was able to make an impact on the restoration efforts. Moments like this are why we volunteer.” Regardless of the circumstance, it is important to remember safety around downed power lines. Always assume a downed power line is still energized. If you see a downed line, stay away and contact your electric utility. Additionally, stay away from limbs or trees in contact with downed lines because they can be conductors of electricity.


Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC) located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.

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1666 West State Road 54
Bloomfield, Indiana 47424

Hours:  Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Office: (812) 384-4446
Toll-Free: (800) 489-7362
©2021 Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC. Member-Owned. Member-Focused.