Midwest Energy is now the seventh Michigan electric distribution cooperative to become member-regulated. After hearing member comments, the co-op announced the decision in its July-August issue of Michigan Country Lines magazine.
Of the nine co-ops, only Cloverland and Thumb remain fully regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), and Cloverland recently announced that it is also considering becoming member-regulated.
Member regulation allows a co-op to make decisions locally by their member-elected board of directors that is accountable to the membership, eliminates of costly annual MPSC utility assessments, legal fees, and other expenses. Decisions on rates and charges can also be made by the co-op, with member participation.
The MPSC started fully regulating electric co-ops in 1965 to help protect them from hostile takeover attempts by an investor-owned utility. In 2008, the House and Senate passed Public Act 167, known as the “Electric Cooperative Member-Regulation Act,” which gives co-ops the option to remove themselves from state regulation.