At the GVEA special board meeting Oct. 16, 2006, the board tweaked their recommended bylaws for the G&T (Generation and Transmission) cooperative and approved sending the proposal to the GVEA members, with only one board member opposed. I’ve linked the final bylaws as well as my extended comments to the GVEA board.
The board will be taking this up one more time Oct. 23, 2006 to approve the ballot language and dedicating funds and hearing a staff plan for communicating this proposal to members. If it is to pass, it must be approved by a majority of GVEA members and at least 10% of our membership must vote.
As readers of previous entries realize, I am not in favor of this proposal and will vote against it. It really comes down to us member-owners of GVEA giving up our $300 million assets (BESS, Healy Power Plant, N.P. power plants old and new, and all our major and minor tielines to this G&T cooperative (of only GVEA) in exchange for the promise of reduced interest rates for the loans out on those assets that are to be transferred to the G&T. The implication is that our electric rates will be reduced by about $30 million over the next 5 years, but GVEA has said we probably won’t see rates go down, suggesting that they just won’t go up as much.
I think that the trade-off of possible reduced rates isn’t worth giving up control of our assets. The G&T will be controlled by a board that may have representatives of the GVEA Board on it, but I expect it to be weighted toward GVEA staff, as it is now totally composed of. I also believe that, as GVEA will be purchasing wholesale power from the G&T, we member-owners won’t have the transparency or input that we currently have, particularly with respect to the cost of power. GVEA will become a much smaller operation.
Some have suggested that this is an attempt for GVEA to get some of its operations out from under state regulatory authority (RCA). I believe that GVEA and most utilities would be happy to run their own show without the perceived interference of regulation. I also believe that these regulators help protect the members’ and public’s interests.
If you have read this far and follow the earlier links and blog entries, you can make up your own mind and be an educated member when presented with the glowing scenario by GVEA.