Tuesday | April 16, 2024

Cresco, IA | Rushford, MN— MiEnergy Cooperative celebrated its eighth annual meeting on April 10. Approximately 124 members attended the event at the Mabel Community Center. The event was also live-streamed through YouTube.

The meeting marked the director elections for members living in districts two and three. A total of 1,309 ballots were cast (1,102 by mail, 200 electronically and 7onsite).

District 2 had two seats up for re-election. Incumbent Ron Stevens, of Preston, prevailed over challenger Vance Haugen, of Canton. Incumbent Dean Nierling, of Decorah, ran unopposed.

District 2 board directors represent the following townships: Amherst, Arendahl, Bristol, Canton, Harmony, Holt, Houston, Money Creek, Norway, Preble, Preston, Rushford and Yucatan in Minnesota. Albion, Burr Oak, Forest City, Fremont, Howard Center, Orleans and Vernon Springs in Iowa.

In District 3, incumbents Don Petersen, of Hokah, and Skip Wieser, of La Crescent, ran unopposed.

District 3 board directors represent the following townships: Black Hammer, Brownsville, Caledonia, Crooked Creek, Dresbach, Hokah, Jefferson, La Crescent, Mayville, Mound Prairie, New Hartford, Newburg, Sheldon, Spring Grove, Union, Wilmington and Winnebago in Minnesota. Hesper, Highland, Iowa, Union City and Waterloo in Iowa.

Other than those listed on the ballot, no other members applied to be on this year’s ballots. All directors serve three-year terms. The election results were certified by an independent election vendor, Survey and Ballot Systems, and Dennis Puckett from Sullivan & Ward.

Director Dennis Young, of Decorah, was recognized at the meeting for his 20 years of service as a board director for MiEnergy and its predecessor Hawkeye REC. He announced in 2023 that he would not be seeking re-election in District 3, and the board approved reducing the size of the board from 11 directors to 10 in accordance with the bylaws. Each of MiEnergy’s five districts is now represented by two directors.

Board Treasurer Petersen reported that the cooperative remained in good financial condition and met all its lenders’ financial requirements. Eide Bailly audited the financials, which gave the cooperative a favorable report. 

President/CEO Brian Krambeer highlighted the history of the cooperative and Cooperative Principles as part of the evening’s theme.

Interestingly, REA [Rural Electrification Administration] officials encouraged residents working to form an electric cooperative in Howard, Winneshiek and Chickasaw counties and those in Houston, Fillmore and Winona counties to join forces. They formed Hawkeye Tri-County and Tri-County Electric.

“One could say we followed that recommendation 81 years later in forming MiEnergy with the merger in 2017,” Krambeer stated.

Krambeer spoke about the community involvement of MiEnergy’s workforce, their specialized training and the cooperative’s economic development support.

“Over the years, we’ve provided over $12.5 million in loan and grant resources in our service territory,” Krambeer said.

Other highlights related to the Cooperative Principles included the cooperative granting 70 $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate volunteerism and Operation Round Up, which has donated over $169,000 in grants to local organizations since its inception.

Krambeer then provided a summary of 2023 and an outlook for 2024 that focused on its core business of safely providing affordable, reliable and sustainable electric service.

Despite maintaining 5,500 miles of power line, the number of outages members experience and the length of power outages remain low. The cooperative has six licensed drone operators with infrared scanning, which can help identify equipment issues before an outage occurs.

Krambeer also announced there would be no rate changes for 2024, even as costs rise and other electric utilities have revealed significant rate increases.

While MiEnergy members receive 47% of their energy from renewable resources (nameplate capacity) and the co-op is recognized as a leader in its policies and rate design to incorporate distributed generation (member-owned generation), Krambeer made clear the importance of reliable baseload or dispatchable generation.

“Wind and solar are intermittent resources…reliability is a critical piece of the puzzle that goes along with sustainability and affordability,” Krambeer stated.

Krambeer also explained MiEnergy’s continued engagement with legislative issues in Iowa and Minnesota.

The buildout of broadband to unserved and underserved members continues to be important as broadband becomes necessary not only for improved quality of life, but also for MiEnergy’s electric distribution infrastructure in innovative grid applications in the future.


Media Contact:

Brenda Tesch
Manager of Marketing and Communications