Midwest Energy is conducting a vote of its 49,000 customer-owners in May to become self-regulated, returning most decision-making authority from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to its member-elected Board of Directors.
“Self-regulation would benefit members by returning most decision-making authority on rates, rate design, and terms of service to our member-elected Board of Directors, who share a common ownership interest with all customer-owners,” said Pat Parke, Midwest Energy’s Vice President for Customer Service. “We will be more efficient and transparent, at a lower cost. But, customers will still have an appeals process to the KCC on rate decisions.”
Members of 27 of the 29 Kansas electric cooperatives have voted to self-regulate since the legislature first allowed it in 1992.
Midwest Energy has mailed nformational brochures to inform its members on self-regulation, and is hosting a series of member meetings to discuss it in the coming weeks. The schedule is:
Great Bend: Tuesday, Mar. 26, 6:30 p.m.: Barton Community College, Fine Arts Bldg., Room F30.Colby: Thursday, Mar. 28, 6:30 p.m.: Colby Community College, Student Union, Room 108.Scott City: Tuesday, April 2, 6:30 p.m., Scott County Library, 110 W. 8th St.Hays: Thursday, April 4, 6:30 p.m., Robbins Center, One Tiger Place, Fort Hays State University.
Members with questions are encouraged to attend one of the meetings, where members can address questions to management and the Board of Directors.
“By being self-regulated, we can respond faster to the changing needs of our customer-owners and the changing nature of our business,” said Earnie Lehman, Midwest Energy’s President and General Manager. “Our Board can make decisions faster as well as better than a regulatory agency with no local ties.”
Lehman added that ballots will be going out to all Midwest Energy customers, after the last member meeting in April.
“If you pay a Midwest Energy bill, you have an ownership stake in our cooperative,” Lehman said. “We encourage our members to exercise their rights and vote ‘yes’ when their ballot arrives,” he added.
For more information, contact Mike Morley at (785) 625-1463.