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Farmers Mutual OKs merger with Jo-Carroll Energy

Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

SAVANNA – Members of Farmers Mutual Electric Co. Tuesday approved a merger with fellow electric cooperative Jo-Carroll Energy, Jo Carroll said in a news release Thursday.

The merger will help both co-ops by sharing employee talent and equipment, improving efficiency, spreading the costs of current and imminent regulations, sharing investment in smart-grid technology, increasing power supply options and spreading fixed costs over a larger membership, the release said.

Of the 348 votes, 302, or 87 percent, were in favor of the merger, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, the release said.

Robert Delp is general manager of Farmers Mutual.

“We are very grateful for the support our members have given the board of directors and their recommendation to approve the plan of merger,” he said in the release.

Farmers Mutual members will become members of Jo-Carroll Energy. Farmers Mutual will return $936,000 in capital credits to its members over a 2-year period, the release said.

The office in Geneseo will remain open and all Farmers Mutual employees will have the same or similar positions. Jo-Carroll Energy is headquartered in Elizabeth and has an office in Savanna.

Both boards of directors voted unanimously to pursue the merger. Jo-Carroll Energy’s bylaws do not require its members to vote on a merger with another cooperative.

The merger is not complete and both co-ops will operate as usual until further notice. Farmers Mutual members should continue to read their own meters, remit their payments to the Geneseo office, and call 309-944-4669 to report outages or ask questions.

Farmers Mutual members will see an expansion in services, including wireless broadband Internet service, online bill pay, automated meter reading, budget billing, energy-efficiency programs and discounts at businesses.

Prairie Power Inc. is the power plant that serves Farmers Mutual. It is one of the newest, cleanest and most efficient power plants in the country and “important for long-term power supply planning of Jo-Carroll Energy,” the release said.

Farmers Mutual is a nonprofit electric distribution cooperative that serves about 1,500 rural residential, agricultural and business consumers in Whiteside and Henry counties.

Jo-Carroll Energy Inc. is a nonprofit distribution cooperative owned and controlled by its members. It serves more than 26,000 electric, natural gas and broadband Internet accounts in Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties.

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