Lower Valley Energy announces plan to consolidate with Fall River Electric Cooperative

(Afton, Wyo.) - Today, the Board of Directors of Lower Valley Energy, in conjunction with the Board of Directors of Fall River Electric Cooperative in Ashton, Idaho, jointly announced their intention to investigate joining the two cooperatives together into one. Lower Valley Energy serves electricity and natural gas customers from Yellowstone to Jackson and down to Smoot, Wyo. Fall River Electric is a nonprofit electric utility company serving customers in three states including eastern Idaho, western Wyoming and southwest Montana. The next step in the process is for the two boards to agree to the terms of such a consolidation. If that step is successfully completed, each cooperative would take the consolidation plan to its respective members for a vote of approval. According to a release issued this morning by Lower Valley Energy, the idea of working together for the mutual benefit of both cooperatives has been considered for several decades, but changing national energy policies and regional policies planned by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) make the idea of consolidation more practical than ever. In considering this proposal, two consolidation studies were conducted which concluded that a consolidated operation could save members nearly $4M dollars annually, or an estimated $38M over a ten-year period. Additionally, a consolidated cooperative would mean greater financial strength to be proactive in a changing electrical industry, an opportunity to expand natural gas and propane services to more members, and to create greater workforce efficiencies. In agreeing to move forward, both boards stated that the potential consolidation would not result in employee layoffs or reductions in pay for the existing staffs. Much more work is needed on the consolidation plan before it is presented to the owner-members of each cooperative for a vote later this year. If approved by members, implementation of the entire consolidation plan could take two to three years. *Feature Photo: Lower Valley Energy Jackson Office. h/t Lower Valley Energy Jackson Office / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news