Northeast Kansas electric cooperatives would merge under proposal

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By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Two
northeast Kansas electric cooperatives which serve more than 5,000 customers in eight
counties have announced plans to merge.

Boards
of the Nemaha-Marshall Electric Cooperative Association of Axtell and the
Doniphan Electric Cooperative Association in Troy have approved an October vote
on becoming the new Northeast Kansas Electric Cooperative.

The
plans are subject to review by COOP members and employees prior to the vote.
If meetings cannot be held due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two COOPs plan
to communicate by mail.

In
a news release, the two cooperatives stated that under
the proposed consolidation plan:

·      A new legal entity will be created and
named Northeast Kansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NEKEC).

·      All jobs will be maintained for a
combined workforce of 20.

·      There will be no changes in members’
reliable electric service.

·      Our financial analyses point to
significant potential savings over a 10-year period.

·      The cooperatives’ Boards of Trustees
will combine initially to oversee the consolidated cooperative.

·      Offices in both Axtell, KS and Troy,
KS will remain open after this consolidation.  It is anticipated both
locations will be needed well into the future.

·      The combined cooperatives will serve
5000+ customers in eight (8) counties.

Officials with
both cooperatives say consolidation will save money and increase efficiency by
combining purchasing, accounting, and billing as well as sharing equipment, eliminating
duplicate expenses, and enhancing emergency response.

Two-thirds of
the members of both cooperatives must vote for consolidation for the merger to
be approved. The vote will come on the same day in October, yet to be
determined. If approved, consolidation is expected to be completed by January
first.

Nemaha-Marshall
Electric Cooperative General Manager Kathleen O’Brien is slated to serve as the
General Manager of new entity, if approved.