Connexus Energy Members,
After years of patient and deliberative work trying to reduce wholesale power costs and increase flexibility and opportunities for local investment in energy generation and grid resilience, Connexus Energy recently communicated to Great River Energy (GRE) that it seeks to negotiate a fair and equitable exit from GRE’s “full requirements membership” contracts that stretch to 2045 and 2050.
Because of efficiencies and innovations that Connexus Energy has implemented, your cooperative has been able to keep electric rates flat for the past four years. However, as reported in our last several annual meetings, our wholesale power costs have been the highest of all electric cooperatives in Minnesota for the past decade.
Connexus Energy’s action to pursue competitive wholesale power savings, flexibility, and local control was authorized by a unanimous resolution of the Connexus Energy Board of Directors. A PDF copy of the Board resolution and a recorded video message are available by logging into your online Connexus Energy member account.
This vote has no impact to Connexus Energy’s operations, the reliability and safety of our service to you, or our commitment to cooperative values. Similar to the unanimous Board vote regarding GRE’s sale of Coal Creek Station, the Connexus Energy Board of Directors spent considerable time and dedication considering all aspects of this decision and the implications for our members.
Connexus Energy’s exit from GRE’s full requirements membership is being pursued in a fair and equitable manner, using rigorous data sets and valuation information calculated by GRE. We have kept the door open with GRE and are offering to exit membership and simply become a power supply customer, thereby reducing costs and subsidies for services we do not need from GRE to serve Connexus Energy members.
Reliability: it’s what members can expect
The transition in wholesale power supply will be carefully negotiated and will take time—and enable us to rapidly pursue a portfolio of lower-cost generation options which will include additional renewables that meet our requirements. Members can expect our reliability, member services, and cost competitiveness to remain unchanged.
Connexus members enjoy excellent grid reliability as benchmarked across national utilities. Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the nation’s first federally recognized regional transmission operator, has been highly successful managing the regional grid and is a key partner in providing access to competitive wholesale power for hundreds of organizations including cooperatives, municipalities, utilities, and corporations.
Connexus Energy’s founders were not alone in 1937 in their creation of an organization to meet the electrification needs of farmers, rural towns, and communities. Driven by their pursuit of increased cost savings, greater flexibility for innovation, and as well as more local control, several other electric cooperatives nationwide are now working with their electric generation partners and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to exit legacy wholesale power contracts. Just as our founding members sought to modernize life with the early grid and first electric devices, we look forward to modernizing our wholesale power supply for you — working For the Members — to adapt to changing technologies and market conditions while providing affordable and reliable electric service.
Members who have additional questions may contact our communications lead, Rob Davis, email@example.com or (763) 218-7656.
Thank you for being a member owner of our cooperative.
Chair, Connexus Energy Board
President and CEO, Connexus Energy