Co-Op approved for purchase

Published 10:05 am Friday, May 1, 2015

Freeborn-Mower to gain 15,000 new members

Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative received state regulatory approval to acquire Alliant Energy’s Minnesota electric service territory on Thursday in a verbal decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities  Commission.

Jim Krueger

Jim Krueger

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services is one of the 12 participating co-ops of Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative and upon final approval will take over electric service for Albert Lea residents and businesses. The local cooperative’s combined territory will serve approximately 21,300 members, a 255 percent increase.

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“It’s a culmination of about three years of work, negotiating this deal and going through the public utilities commission approval process,” said Jim Krueger, president and CEO of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services. “It was a historic day or our co-op yesterday. To be able to add 15,000 new members to our co-op, we’re excited about that.”

He said the cooperative looks forward to adding the new members and serving them at the same level as its current members.

The Public Utilities Commission is expected to issue a written order on the transaction in three to four weeks.

“We’re awfully close now,” Krueger said. “We can see the finish line.”

He anticipated the purchase price for the Freeborn-Mower portion of the transaction to be between $38 million and $39 million.

Though the timeline for the switchover to Freeborn-Mower is uncertain at this point, he anticipated it would not be before early fall.

The action by the Public Utiltiies Commission on Thursday comes as Minnesota Energy Resources today begins providing natural gas services to Albert lea residents. Alliant and Minnesota Energy Resources closed on the transaction Thursday.

Customers are expected to receive additional information in the mail from Minnesota Energy Resources regarding programs and services. Customers can contact Minnesota Energy Resources at 1-800-889-9508.

Alliant Energy initially announced plans to sell its natural gas and electric systems in Minnesota in September 2013.