Members of the Alamo Power District No. 3 Board of Directors turned down a proposed merger with Lincoln County Power District No. 1.
The vote was unanimous 4-0, with member Dan Park being absent.
After lengthy discussion, board members decided it was just not the right time to undertake such merger. Talks might start up again at another time when the situation might be better worked out.
Alamo power general manager Doug Miller stated during the last number of months consideration has been given to the possibility of combining Alamo Power with Lincoln County Power. He and LCPD general manager Dave Luttrell have had several meetings to consider the merits of consolidating the operations of both districts into one that could operate more efficiently than separately, and it would give APD customers a rate reduction.
A public meeting in Alamo July 15 heard a new merger proposal from LCPD as well as a number of Alamo residents who said they were not in favor of the merger.
Discussions revolved around merging the assets, resources, personnel, etc., even dissolving APD, then transferring all the assets to LCPD and have the current members of APD petition for inclusion into LCPD.
However, the APD board did not find that in the best interest of the customers and took no action on the idea.
Miller made a counter proposal at the Aug. 12 meeting to merge all assets, resources, responsibilities, and members into the combined LCPD and in conjunction, negotiations and proposals for the governing of the combined district will still be determined.
A major point of concern for Alamo residents, in addition to the question of board representation by those who did not favor the merger, was the issue of an “area rate adder” of 1.857 cents per kilowatt-hour per month, both residential and commercial.
The rate adder was to be applied so no in at APD would lose their jobs, and LCPD customers would not have their rates increased.
The rate adder would remain in effect until the current long-term employees of Alamo Power began to retire. Miller hopes to retire in 2016 or 2017 and office manager Denise Shumway in 2021 or 2022.
Board member Louis Sharp asked if the merger could take place without the rate adder and was told it could not. Luttrell said, “It would be a very hard sell to convince that board (LCPD) to raise their rates to other customers to allow this district to come in.”
After the vote was taken, Luttrell said he respected the decision by the board, and it would not have any effect on the relationship between the two power districts. “We have worked together well for many years, and expect to continue so.”
Alamo Town Board member Vern Holaday thanked the two district manager for all the hard work they have put in on the merger discussions and say he hoped, “We can take what we have learned from this, take advantage of it. We have seen some of the great benefits, and some of the things the public didn’t like about it. I think with all that in mind, we can find a way in the future that will make everybody happy, and that’s because of the work they (Miller and Luttrell) have already done for this.”