MMUA meets with MREA to discuss common interests

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MMUA meets with MREA to discuss common interests

November 2, 2022

On September 29, 2022, five representatives from municipal utilities met with five representatives from electric cooperatives to discuss issues of mutual concern, how MMUA and MREA could benefit from joint efforts at the Capitol, and to judge the level of support for trying to develop uniform guidelines that would be used in boundary adjustment proceedings.

The meeting was conducted under the leadership of Karleen Kos, MMUA’s CEO, and Darrick Moe, CEO of MREA. Kent Sulem from MMUA and Mike Bull from MREA helped staff the meeting and were available for questions. They also reviewed legislative issues such as the ECO Act of 2021 as example of where municipals and coops worked well together.

After introductions, and consensus on the process that would be used throughout the day, the group identified some common principles shared my municipal and cooperative utilities. These principles include being non-partisan, the constant and growing challenge of educating legislators about community owned utilities (COUs) and why they are different from IOUs, and the fact that COUS are locally owned and directly responsive to their customers.

Following good discussions, the group identified a number of suggestions on how COUs could build upon past joint efforts at the Capitol. These suggestions include a joint legislative conference (note – due to logistical issues and timing constraints, it does not appear that a full joint conference will be feasible in 2023,) joint editorials in local newspapers, and joint visits to specific legislators. Topics of possible jointly sponsored legislation identified by the group include permitting reform, net metering reform, and repealing what is commonly referred to as the moratorium on discussing the use of new nuclear reactors.

After lunch, the group began discussions on how to address service territory issues. The participants divided into two smaller groups to continue dialogue on whether it was feasible to develop a common approach to service territory transfers, and whether trying was even advisable.

The group then came back together and reported on the discussions had in the breakout groups. It became obvious that there no desire to continue conversations in hopes of developing a universal template for service territory transfers, particularly if it would endanger joint efforts on legislative and related issues. While many reasons were shared, the bottom line appears to be that each situation is different. Interest was expressed in providing materials on how to have difficult conversations and in continuing to build relationships between members of both organizations so that rapport and trust can be fostered.

Ultimately the group developed consensus on four points:

1.The COU management groups or some subset should meet periodically on topics of mutual interest.

2.The meeting of September 29, and any future meetings, should result in joint communication of outcomes.

3.COUs should continue to collaborate on areas of mutual interest.

4.Service territory should not be a near term area of focus.

To see the complete summary of this meeting, please click here.

Please contact Karleen Kos ( or Kent Sulem ( if you have any questions.

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