At issue | May 23 editorial, "Revolution way to save energy co-op; Ailing East Kentucky Power needs new blood, transparency"
East Kentucky Power Cooperative's board and management recognize immediate, decisive action is necessary to meet the challenges identified in the recently released audit commissioned by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. We are committed to work with the PSC to to bring about meaningful and comprehensive change.
EKPC, the PSC and the commission's consultant are finishing plans to address the issues raised in the audit.
Already, EKPC has begun responding. The board has engaged a consultant to assess and enhance governance policies, guidelines and practices, emphasizing industry best practices. The board and management also are launching a fresh strategic planning initiative to establish the course for the organization.
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EKPC has taken these additional steps to respond:
■ Filled the position of internal auditor.
■ Enacted a whistle-blower policy.
■ Updated the 20-year financial forecast.
■ Explored partnerships with other electric utilities to reduce costs and leverage capabilities.
The co-op is in the process of:
■ Conducting a comprehensive assessment of risk management.
■ Evaluating forced outage insurance as a possible means to mitigate risk.
■ Evaluating the need for additional interconnections on our transmission system.
■ Evaluating membership in a regional transmission organization, and the costs and benefits that might offer.
It is disappointing the Herald-Leader chose not to acknowledge any of these steps by EKPC.
Our board and management also are committed to protecting EKPC's financial integrity. The cooperative has had four years of positive margins, totaling nearly $110 million. Our cooperative's financial condition is improving. We are confident it is on the right track, and we will work hard to keep it on that track.
It is troubling that the paper chose not to provide this context.
The editorial acknowledged that our member cooperatives serve some of the fastest-growing areas of Kentucky. EKPC and its members are responsible and accountable for providing electricity to the homes, farms and businesses in these areas. The boards of our cooperatives take this responsibility very seriously.
EKPC has taken innovative approaches to meeting our members' needs. It was the first utility in Kentucky to generate its own renewable energy. We make electricity with landfill methane, waste tires and Kentucky-grown switchgrass, and we purchase power from three hydroelectric dams. We have been leaders in energy efficiency for 25 years and today our programs provide 185 megawatts of energy savings.
Renewables, energy efficiency and other alternatives are critical to meeting our needs, and EKPC will continue to be a leader in these areas. But they will not replace the need for affordable, reliable baseload generating facilities. The decision to build a new power plant is not one we take lightly. We are aware that 500,000 homes, farms and businesses will be affected by our decisions. And we are focused on maintaining our cooperative's financial integrity.
EKPC is committed to work with the PSC to take the correct steps to ensure reliable, affordable power to meet our members' needs.