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Electric co-ops to study merger idea

 


Nespelem Valley Electric and Inland Power & Light Company have started discussions and a study for a possible merger, Ralph Rise, president of NVE’s board of trustees announced in a press release last week.

If discussions and the study are positive, the issue would have to go to members of both cooperatives for a vote.

Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative serves about 1,500 accounts, primarily on the Colville Indian Reservation.

Inland Power & Light, based in Spokane, serves some 39,000 customers scattered from the Clarkston-Pomeroy area to Wilbur and the Grand Coulee area of Lincoln County.

Rise emphasized that the study and discussions are preliminary and that any merger would have to be approved by two-thirds of the members of each cooperative with at least 25 percent of members voting.

The study is designed to determine if there would be mutual benefits to the member-consumers of the two cooperatives.

“If the study shows that there is potential for cost saving to assist in maintaining lower electric rates,” a press release stated, “and the possibility of better service through the economy of scale and other reasons, the cooperatives may move forward to the next step.”

That step would be the sharing of study results with members through mailing and meetings.

Doug Adams, a spokesman for Nespelem Valley Electric, said the Cooperative Finance Corporation is doing the initial study and that it could be available within a month.

“When the initial report comes back we will have a joint meeting of our two boards of trustees to decide if we want to proceed further,” Adams said.

The two cooperatives have nearly identical power rates. Nespelem Valley Electric’s power rate is 6.5 cents a kilowatt hour and Inland’s is 6.34 cents.

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