Utilities forms new partnership for power in future

by Paul Rignell

Contributing writer

Elk River Municipal Utilities, which feeds electricity to 9,300 metered customers through 44 square miles, has announced a new partnership that it will form in an effort to offer competitive rates and local control to customers for decades to come.

After five years of wholesale supplier analysis, Elk River Municipal Utilities has become the 12th member of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. Municipal Utilities joins Anoka, Buffalo, Chaska, North St. Paul, Shakopee and six outstate cities in the agency, whose operations are managed by Avant Energy of Minneapolis. The agency formed with eight members in 1992 and grew to include 11 in 2005.

Elk River Municipal Utilities General Manager Troy Adams said the local utility has had a good relationship with current power provider Great River Energy, which is contracted through Connexus Energy.

But with uncertainty over the future of state mandates and other government regulations, he said, Municipal Utilities believes it has found an option with the best chance to keep rates competitively priced for local customers through the next generation. Municipal Utilities will begin receiving power sales from the agency in October 2018, and the agreement runs through 2050.

The membership gives Elk River Municipal Utilities one seat on an Minnesota Municipal Power Agency board of directors.

“We wanted to have a say in our future, we wanted to have a vote,” Adams said. “That’s the point with public power. We are owned by our customers, and we want to make sure their needs are represented.”