During the 2017 Legislative Session, the Minnesota Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a provision that reduces duplicative regulation on your electric cooperative. This piece of legislation, Local Democracy, returns some balance to the regulatory process, ensuring decisions that impact member-owners of rural electric cooperatives are made locally by your elected board of directors. Because electric cooperatives are already locally regulated in most areas, this legislation made an important clarification, one that will allow for innovation in response to members’ needs and wants for years to come.
Local Democracy clarifies that the boards of directors of electric cooperatives in the State of Minnesota are responsible for regulating their electric cooperative under Minnesota Statute 216B.164, as they do elsewhere under Minnesota Law. Local Democracy applies only to electric cooperatives, and only to Minnesota Statute 216B.164. LOCAL DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXCLUDE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES FROM ANY LEGAL OBLIGATIONS UNDER MINNESOTA STATUTE 216B.164. The provisions that the legislature recently passed, and the Governor signed, allow for electric cooperatives to adopt the authority to implement this section of Minnesota Statute 216B.164.
Municipal utilities in the State of Minnesota have had similar authority for over 30 years. With the passage of the provisions, the legislature affirmed the value of local decision making for electric cooperatives across Minnesota. As your locally owned electric cooperative, we know that local decision making can result in providing you, our member, with unique rate structures, products, and services that reflect our local community’s needs while helping keep administrative costs down.
To adopt the authority to implement the provisions of Minnesota Statute 216B.164, an electric cooperative must pass a resolution adopting this authority; and, they must adopt rules implementing this section of statute. At Cooperative Light and Power’s June board meeting, your Cooperative Light and Power board of directors (made up of local members, and elected by local members) voted unanimously to state their intent to adopt the authority authorized in the Local Democracy legislation. You can click HERE to view a draft copy of the resolution adopting the authority, and you can click HERE to view a draft copy of the Cooperative Rules Implementing 216B.164. You can click HERE to view a draft copy of the Uniform Small Cogen Cooperative Contract.
The purpose of this change is to secure local decision making, not to substantively change the way Cooperative Light and Power interacts with distributed generation. If you are interested in this change, we invite you, our member-owner, an opportunity to share you opinions about Local Democracy. You may submit any questions, comments, or concerns via writing to Mr. Steven M. Wattnem, General Manager, Cooperative Light and Power, P. O. Box 69, Two Harbors, MN 55616; via email to Mr. Wattnem at firstname.lastname@example.org; via phone call to Mr. Wattnem at 218.834.2226 or 800.580.5881; or via personal appearance to Mr. Wattnem at 1554 Highway 2, Two Harbors, MN. Please note: We ask that you schedule an appointment for a personal appearance to ensure that Mr. Wattnem is available when you choose to visit. You may also choose to address the entire Cooperative Light and Power board of directors at the next Cooperative Light and Power board meeting scheduled for July 27, 2017. Cooperative Light and Power board meetings are also held at 1554 Highway 2, Two Harbors, MN. Please note: We ask that you schedule an appointment for attendance at the board meeting to ensure ample time is allotted for all member questions, comments, or concerns.
Should your Cooperative Light and Power board of directors feel they answered all member questions, comments, or concerns adequately, they intend to call for a formal vote to pass the resolution and adopt the Cooperative Rules Implementing 216B.164.