Reader's View...Lake Country Power expenses
By: Randy Myhre, Pine Journal
As an electric cooperative, Lake Country Power is owned by the members it serves. As one of those members, I am getting more and more concerned about the high power bill I receive every month, and I’m willing to bet that many of my fellow “owners” are concerned as well. Let me offer a couple of obvious examples. Currently, we all have to pay almost $50 per service per month just for the privilege of having Lake Country as our power supplier. This is called a “facility charge” and it is just one of several “fees” that have to be paid before we even begin using electricity provided by LCP.
I realize that LCP needs to generate enough revenue to cover expenses, but such excessive “fees” suggest that Lake Country pricing policy might not always work in the best interest of its owners. Are all of those “fees” necessary? According to records easily available to the public, the Chairman of the Board at LCP received almost $40,000 in per diem costs and expenses in 2012. That is more money than most full-time employees make, and what are we getting in return? We surely do not have the power company of choice. The 2012 salary and expense budget for the entire group of directors was supposed to be $175,000, a very significant amount of money, yet the organization actually spent more, exceeding that number by almost $50,000 last year. That’s the equivalent of 1,000 annual “facility charges” – does something seem wrong here? If you question this, you will probably be told there was an emergency of some sort or you will be told how good of a job LCP is doing, but is LCP serving us, its owners, as well as it could? Wouldn’t we prefer a power company that is dedicated to serving the best interests of owners first and foremost, as opposed to spending company dollars on extra meetings where well-paid directors tell us how good LCP is doing? With this kind of management, it is easy to understand why our power bills are high. If our directors possessed electrical engineering, business and law degrees and were working to turn LCP into the power company of choice, dedicated to serving the best interests of owners each and every step of the way, such lofty fees might be justifiable.
The bottom line seems to be that Lake Country Power, like all good businesses, needs to operate in a more competitive manner. When the Board of Directors exceeds its own budget by approximately 30 percent in 2012, what chances do we have to turn LCP into the power company of choice?
It’s time to give your representative a call or attend one of the upcoming meetings where they should be in attendance. Ask your director if he is getting paid to attend, too. Tell him to let the employees manage the co-op and take care of these meetings. Tell him to direct the employees to turn LCP into the power company of choice. If you don’t get the kind of response you want or expect, maybe it’s time to start exercising your rights as an owner and demand better results.
Randy Myhre, Barnum