Consolidation Study Update – October 2012

Consolidation Update
by Jim Thompson PE General Manager
The board of directors from both Cooperatives created six committees to focus on different areas of the consolidation study. The six committees are: Board Restructuring/Governance, Bylaws, Wages and Benefits, Communication, Rates and Finance. The committees met for their first discussions the second week of August.
The Board Restructuring/Governance Committee is working on defining a new territory map covering the total consolidated area and dividing it into nine director districts. They are considering options to move from 16 directors down to nine directors. They are also comparing director guidelines and requirements. 
The Bylaw Committee is comparing bylaws between the two Cooperatives. They will also use a bylaw model provided by the national organization (NRECA) for comparison. Both Cooperative attorneys will be involved in developing legal plans for consolidation.
The Wages and Benefits Committee are currently considering options to consolidate wages and benefits.  Options for the retirement benefits are being discussed.  Health care will be discussed in more detail at the next committee meeting. 
The Communications Committee will keep employees and members informed about the consolidation study by utilizing the internal and external newsletters, and providing informational meetings and discussions where necessary. 
The Rates Committee is putting together a timeline to include a cost-of-service study for a new cooperative in 2014 and a plan to consolidate rates. Most rate structures are similar and will not require major changes. In general, WIEC’s rate structures have lower facility charges and higher kWh charges while AEC’s rate structures have higher facility charges and lower kWh charges.
The Finance Committee is examining the financial forecast of a consolidated cooperative compared to independent cooperatives. They are also reviewing equipment budgets, capital credit retirements, construction work, insurance levels, and loans.
As the committees move forward in their discussions, watch for updates in this newsletter and on this website.