September 14, 2021
Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc.
P.O. Box 8
40 Church Street
East Montpelier, VT 05651
Contact: Louis Porter (802) 595-3691
President Stephen Knowlton (802) 223-2230
East Montpelier, Vt: The board of the Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) has selected Louis Porter of Calais as the new General Manager for the eight-decade-old member-owned rural electric utility.
“As a cooperative, our mission is closely linked to the well-being of the people in the 41 central Vermont towns we serve. Choosing someone to lead the Co-op who has a long history in the community, and a demonstrated commitment to public service in Vermont makes sense,” said Stephen Knowlton, president of WEC. “As a member for most of his life, Louis’ dedication to the community was clear to us.”
Porter has worked in state government for nearly a decade, serving as Fish and Wildlife Commissioner for Gov. Phil Scott, and in both that role and as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs for Gov. Peter Shumlin. Before that, he was an environmental advocate and newspaper reporter both outside Vermont and inside its borders.
“Vermont’s great strength comes from people of different backgrounds coming together to improve and protect assets we own together and which we all rely on,” said Porter. “There is no better example of that than the Co-op, where people of these communities banded together to provide for themselves vital infrastructure and services.”
Porter, 45, will take over for Patty Richards, who has led the third-largest electrical utility in Vermont for eight years, and who announced her decision to step down in May of this year.
In keeping with a community-owned utility, WEC is committed to providing services in response to its members’ needs: working with multiple local partners to help provide high-speed internet in the communities it serves, assisting members impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and developing innovative pricing structures and incentives to help members transition away from fossil fuel. But most important, WEC continues to provide reliable, 100 percent renewable power to its members at a reasonable price.
“The mission of the Co-op remains the same: to provide its members with essential services which they both own and benefit from,” said Knowlton. “The technology may change, but the commitment of WEC to its members is constant.”
Growing up in the WEC service territory added to his understanding of what it means to provide service to the public, Porter said.
“When customers who depend on a service are also the owners, it ensures accountability,” Porter said. “As one of those members I deeply appreciate that.”
About Washington Electric Cooperative:
Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility founded in 1939. WEC serves approximately 10,800 member-owners in 41 towns throughout Washington, Orange, Caledonia and Orleans counties with power generated from 100 percent renewable sources. WEC is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information, please visit washingtonelectric.coop or call 802-223-5245.