PSC cracking down on electric co-ops

The American Press

Nine out of 10 rural homes in this country were without electric service in the mid-1930s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided when he was elected in 1933 that something had to be done to serve the underserved.

The end result was the Rural Electrification Administration’s creation of cooperatives (co-ops) to provide those electric services. Co-ops are nonprofits that are owned by the members who buy the electricity.

Traditional electric companies call their members customers, and that is where the state Public Service Commission has concentrated most of its regulations. So those who run the co-ops have pretty much done their own things for years.

The Advocate reported that members of the PSC were surprised when they learned co-op board members were compensated. They found out when two cooperatives wanted to charge their customers more on monthly electric bills. They learned that much of their “operating margin” revenues was spent on perks for the board members.

The co-ops’ 96 board members aren’t legally allowed to receive a salary, but in 2017 alone, they were compensated. The average was $26,250 but some directors made $50,000 or more.

Members of the PSC have decided it’s time to put a halt to what they call lavish perks. The PSC said the boards that run the co-ops have health insurance coverage and have engaged in extravagant travel.

New rules being formulated by the PSC will forbid co-ops from providing board members with health and life insurance, cap per diem at $200 a day and set term limits. Some directors were elected at meetings when only a few members attended.

The PSC will require that 5 percent of the members must be present at election meetings. If attendance doesn’t reach that level for three consecutive sessions, or three in five years, then votes for new directors will have to be taken by mail.

PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell said, “We’re coming up with a whole package: term limits for board members, complete transparency on finances, a new way of electing them.”

He said, “We don’t need them flying all over the country, to Las Vegas, for conferences and seminars.”

Co-op board members haven’t responded to the PSC’s plans. We hope they do because the members they serve deserve to be told about their reaction to the complaints being lodged by members of the PSC.””Electric Co-Op

Local News

Portion of La. in Lake Arthur renamed in honor of Fox

Local News

La. abortion ban holds in court once again

Crime

UPDATE: Husband, wife both charged with molestation, cruelty

life

Classes back in session: Lake Charles Charter begins 12th year

Crime

UPDATE: Reward offered in Oakdale homicide

life

Gerald Sims: A neighborly neighbor that others can count on

Crime

One arrested, one sought in molestation case

Local News

Two Police Jury buildings closed due to water main break

Local News

La. continues to average 1,500-3,000 COVID cases daily

Crime

Nephew arrested after fight with uncle

Local News

Drink and Draw: CYPHACON social event allows ‘like-minded geeks’ to gather, have fun

Local News

Fort Polk name change could cost $1.4M

Local News

Kathleen Mayo: She’s had passion for teaching since age 9

Local News

Seersucker and a Solitaire: Lively fundraiser to benefit St. Nicholas Center for Children

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Focus on children, families

life

Attention to detail, respect for ingredients come naturally to Calla chef

Local News

CPSB cybersecurity breach investigation handed over to DA

Crime

Cpt. Darbonne mentors young students against violence, bullying

life

McNeese’s Victory Day celebrates kids with special needs

Local News

Photo Gallery: McNeese Football ‘Victory Day’

Local News

Body of missing canoeist recovered from Ouiska Chitto Creek

Crime

8/9: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

Pain at the Pump: Panelists give input on why gas prices have gotten so high

Crime

Charges upgraded in Oakdale shooting