You may recall that within the last year we have communicated that Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc., the two electric utilities that provide wholesale generation and transmission services to Lane-Scott Electric planned to merge in 2020. The successful merger of the two utilities on Jan. 1, 2020, incorporated Mid-Kansas into Sunflower.
In 2005, Sunflower and its Members, Lane-Scott Electric, chose to form Mid-Kansas to successfully bid on the sale of Aquila’s Kansas Electric Network assets. The acquisition essentially doubled the electric generation capability and the miles of transmission line in the system. The acquisition also meant that more Kansans were served by the electric cooperative business model, which puts ownership and governance in the hands of the electric consumer versus private stockholders
In addition to added electric load, Mid-Kansas brought diverse generation resources, and the enhanced utilization of the two fleets benefitted both Mid-Kansas and the native Sunflower system. Beginning in 2007, the two systems were jointly planned and operated.
However, since the formation of Mid-Kansas, the goal of Sunflower’s and Mid-Kansas’ member-owners was to capitalize on the synergies of both Sunflower and Mid-Kansas by merging the two utilities into one larger cooperatively owned and operated utility.
In addition to other work for the merger, regulatory filings were submitted in August 2018 to the Kansas Corporation Commission, which approved the merger in March 2019. Sunflower and Mid-Kansas also filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to obtain approval to combine transmission zones and rates.
So, what does the merger mean for you as a member of Lane-Scott Electric? Benefits of the merger are many, although the benefits won’t likely be readily apparent. At the wholesale level, merging removes regulatory and operational duplication, allows access to lower cost debt, and better absorbs a fluctuating load that occurs due to industry and economic pressures.
At Lane-Scott Electric, we take pride in our long history of serving our members, but we also take pride in being innovative so that we can best meet our members’ current and future energy demands. Your well-being and quality of life are considered in each decision made at the Board table, and the decision by Lane-Scott and the other member-owners of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas to merge the two utilities is just one more example of the way we are taking care of you.