Meeting with WIEC Members – The Consolidation Study Continues
by Jim Thompson PE General Manager
Western Illinois Electrical Coop. (WIEC) held their annual meeting on June 28, 2012. The main discussion at the meeting was the consolidation study. The event provided an ideal opportunity for me to meet with WIEC members for the first time. The meeting was a great educational opportunity to discuss the benefits and process with the members. WIEC was fortunate to have Randy Price, CEO of Carroll White REMC in Indiana, as a guest speaker. Carroll White REMC is a newly formed consolidated cooperative which recently finalized the process on January 1, 2012. Having experienced the process and the actual benefits, Randy’s remarks helped validate the discussion. I hope to follow up with a similar discussion at our Annual Meeting on September 5 for Adams Electric’s members. Randy Price will not be able to be at our meeting due to a prior engagement.
In June, both boards passed resolutions to continue the consolidation study. The resolutions formalize the process and provide documentation that can be shared with other entities who work closely with the cooperatives (i.e. bankers, power supplier, statewide organization, and national organization).
The real work begins now. The boards created six committees to focus on different areas of the consolidation study. The six committees are: Board Restructuring/Governance, Bylaws, Wage & Benefits, Communication, Rates, and Finance.
The goal, as long as everything continues to progress, is to have both memberships vote in March of 2013. We hope the late winter/early spring vote will allow our large number of agriculture members to participate in the meeting. We will have two meetings – one for each cooperative. A quorum will need to be present (150 members for WIEC and 200 for AEC). To be successful, two thirds (2/3) of the members voting at each meeting will need to vote in favor of consolidation.
Early indications show significant benefits for both cooperatives. The consolidation will:
• Create savings to members
• Strengthen our long term competitive position
• Increase efficiencies
• Eliminate duplication
• Better position ourselves for success
The two Cooperatives will continue working through the process and will keep you posted of the progress.