Guest Opinion: Vote ‘No’ on Lake Country Power issueDistrict 9 director for Lake Country Power addresses mail-in vote for Lake Country Power members.
The unfortunate effort to mislead Lake Country Power members was in full view last week as some individual’s field-tested tactics in letterform, trying to incite and inflame rather than focus on facts. These individuals do not want to address the real issue of the MPUC rate regulation vote, which is to keep control of costs and rates locally rather than pass off decisions to a politically appointed panel in St. Paul.
It would actually make the job of the board easier – to shift responsibility for LCP board decisions to the MPUC, but that is not what your elected board of directors recommends. Nor is it the right thing to do – to send local, hard-earned resources to the metro area simply for a duplication of the services already performed by your cooperative employees and directors.
Lake Country Power’s mission is focused on providing members with safe, reliable and affordable electric service. You, the member owners, have a cooperative with 130 employees who work for you. They are reliable and hardworking. In addition, the decisions made by the board are made to ensure that you – the member – receive service that lives up to the cooperative’s mission.
The co-op’s business model is administered to meet the challenges of today as well as the future – and that includes meeting (and paying for) environmental mandates, conservation programs and legislated renewable energy standards. Rates are set to recover the cost of doing business – which includes the additional cost for cleaner, greener energy and the assets that have been added to meet members’ energy needs. Tomorrow’s energy costs will recover these costs as well as additional legislation that Congress is considering such as another costly endeavor called Cap & Trade.
A vote for regulation will not lower your rates. It will not discontinue or restrict the pass through power cost riders on electric bills or result in lower monthly facilities charges. However, the expenses that will be incurred to have oversight by the MPUC will cost in the excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, which will add even more to kilowatt-hour charges.
Additionally, the subsidiaries bring value: Lake States Tree Service and Lake States Construction have provided services with great savings to the cooperative for work that is competitively bid. In addition, work by Lake Country Power’s subsidiaries has resulted more than $1 million in sales tax savings the last five years.
Unfortunately, the petition carriers have not done the homework required to make good sound decisions on this matter for additional monies spent for oversight or duplication of services, which Lake Country Power directors are elected to oversee on the member-owners behalf.
These are the facts! I urge you – don’t let scare tactics influence the outcome of the ballot initiative.
Vote “No.” Be sure to mail your ballots today.
Sherman Liimatainen is the District 9 director for Lake Country Power. He lives in Cloquet and can be reached at 218-879-3135 or 218-590-0815.