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McKenzie Electric focuses on controlling rising energy costs

Posted 6/24/09 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

As the cost of everything seems to be rising, McKenzie Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting focused on what they are doing to help keep customer costs down in a time of rising costs and company growth.
McKenzie Electric Cooperative hosted its annual meeting on June 16, 2009 and those who attended heard about company growth, billing changes and of course, rising prices.
“Rising costs could have been the theme of our meeting,” says John Skurupey, McKenzie Electric Cooperative General Manager/CEO. “But instead of focusing on that we shared our plans for keeping costs down as well as the changes within MEC that are going to make things better for our customers.”
One of those changes includes adding substations and converting lines which in the end equals better and more cost-effective service for the customers of MEC.
“In 2008 we had two substation projects,” adds Skurupey. “The Keene substation was energized in October, 2008 and with the environmental assessment approved, the second substation is on its way to completion.”
Adding substations and putting in new lines is a costly project, but according to Skurupey, in the end it adds up to better service and more savings for MEC’s customers.
“Once the conversion is completed at the substations we will be able to expand distributions and offer more efficient service to our customers,” comments Skurupey. “With the rising cost of power, it is important that we do everything that we can to keep costs down.”
According to Skurupey, changes in the taxation of electric cooperatives are expected to result in a $30,000 to $50,000 savings on the taxes paid by MEC.
“Before the change, taxes were based on gross receipts which meant price increases which meant, if prices went up so did taxes,” says Skurupey. “With the new laws taxes are based on megawatts sold, so no matter what the price is, the taxes won’t change. We are happy about this change because it is going to save a lot of money.”
In an effort to make things easier on their employees and customers, MEC had a billing conversion and introduced an easier to read and more informative bill to their customers. As with any change, it didn’t go off without a little confusion, but Skurupey is confident that in the end it will make things better for everyone.
“Right now we are just trying to hold our head above water with the oil field activity and new transmission lines,” states Skurupey. “But, we have a lot of good things going for us right now and I look forward to a good year ahead.”