By David Anderson / The Free Press
Will Barker, a former Kinston city councilman, has been elected to a seat on ElectriCities’ Board of Directors.
Barker currently holds a seat on the board for the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency, which provides power to 32 member cities in Eastern North Carolina — including Kinston, La Grange, Hookerton, Ayden and New Bern — using power plants it jointly owns with Progress Energy.
“You feel honored that you have 32 cities voting for you to represent them on the ElectriCities board,” Barker said last week.
He was elected by his fellow NCEMPA Board of Commissioners members last week to a seat on the ElectriCities board, and will be sworn in when the board meets in January.
ElectriCities, which is headquartered in Raleigh, is a nonprofit agency which represents public power communities and provides management services for NCEMPA and its sister agency, N.C. Municipal Power Agency 1.
The NCMPA1 provides power to 19 member communities in the western part of the state.
“It’s an opportunity to learn more about how ElectriCities operates and understand more about what their role is in terms of interaction with the eastern and western agencies,” Barker said.
There are 14 seats on the ElectriCities board, with six members drawn from eastern communities, six drawn from western communities and two from unaffiliated communities.
Barker will hold a “weighted” seat, which gives Kinston extra votes based on its ownership share in the power generating assets. Larger cities in the power agencies, such as Wilson, Rocky Mount and New Bern, have weighted seats.
There are also “majority” seats, in which one member has one vote.
Barker was appointed to the Kinston City Council in early 2007 to fill the remainder of the term of Van Braxton, who was elected to the N.C. House in 2006.
Barker was then elected to a four-year term in late 2007. He decided not to run again for the office in 2011.
He is a certified public accountant and a partner in the Kinston firm of Sitterson & Barker PA.
Barker has also served on the Neuse Regional Water and Sewer Authority board.
La Grange Town Manager John Craft, chairman of the ElectriCities board, said Barker is “very well-versed in the issues” facing public power communities, such as customer rates significantly higher than those of private or cooperative utilities, the agencies’ multi-billion-dollar debt which drives that rate disparity and potential impacts from the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
“He’s been a very able representative of Kinston ever since he’s been on the (NCEMPA) Board of Commissioners, so I think Will will be a great member,” Craft said.
Barker was nominated by Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy and his fellow NCEMPA board members.
“He understands constraints and challenges public servants face and I am certain of his capacity and willingness to provide excellent representation,” Murphy wrote in his letter of support.
David Andersoncan be reached at 252-559-1077 orDavid.Anderson@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress