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.