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 North Itasca Electric Cooperative's June board meeting, your Cooperative's 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.
The purpose of this change is to secure local decision making, not to substantively change the way North Itasca Electric Cooperative interacts with distributed generation. If you are interested in this change, we invite you, our member-owner, an opportunity to share your opinions about Local Democracy.
You may submit any questions, comments, or concerns in writing to Mr. Danny J Hoskins, Interim CEO, North Itasca Electric Cooperative, P. O. Box 227, Bigfork, MN 55628; or by email to Mr. Hoskins at firstname.lastname@example.org; or via phone call to Mr. Hoskins at 218-743-3131 or 800-762-4048; or you may come to the office for a personal appearance with Mr. Hoskins at our office in Bigfork Minnesota located at 301 Main Ave. Please, we ask that if you plan to come in person to our office that you schedule an appointment for a visit to ensure that Mr. Hoskins is available when you choose to visit.
You may also choose to address the entire North Itasca Electric Cooperative board of directors at the next North Itasca Electric Cooperative board meeting scheduled for August 24th, 2017, at 2:00 PM at the North Itasca Electric Cooperative office located at 301 Main Ave, Bigfork, MN. Because of the board's vigorous agenda, we do ask that you schedule a time for your attendance at the board meeting to ensure ample time is allotted for all member questions, comments, or concerns.