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Cadott’s electric utilities in line to be sold to CVEC

Cadott’s electric utilities in line to be sold to CVEC Cadott’s electric utilities in line to be sold to CVEC

In an open meeting June 3, of the Village of Cadott, its board will vote on a preliminary agreement for the sale of their electric utility to Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative (CVEC).

“The Village of Cadott board members have wrestled for years, with the problem of fixing our aging electric system,” said Louie Eslinger, village trustee. “Some of our lines are operating at 120 percent of rated capacity. That is an unsafe and unsustainable situation.”

If something breaks on Cadott’s power lines, it is diffi cult to even find replacement parts.

“The condition of Cadott’s electric system puts our residents and businesses at an unacceptable risk of extended outages,” said Eslinger. “The board can delay no longer. We must act now in our electric customers’ best interests.”

The village board commissioned an engineering study of its electric system last year, and the June 2023 report from EPS Engineering, indicated it would cost $7.45 million to bring Cadott electric system’s power capacity to acceptable industry and safety standards. Replacing the aging meters, at $250,000, would be another needed upgrade.

“The cost is just too high for our residents to carry alone,” said Eslinger. “CVEC has maintained Cadott’s electric system since 2017, and has done a miraculous job keeping it operating as well as it has, but even they cannot perform miracles forever. They are willing to take on the financing of the required investment in our electric system and welcome our residents as members of the cooperative.”

CVEC estimates that a rate increase of more than 40 percent, would be what residents would look to pay, in order to bring Cadott’s electric system up to acceptable industry and safety standards. Preliminary analysis shows by combining Cadott’s electric system with CVEC’s, the rate impact would be lessened by half or more, and only be applied in small steps, as the project progressed each year.

Russ Falkenberg, CVEC president/CEO, feels combining the electric systems makes sense.

“Of course, the CVEC linemen are very familiar with Cadott’s electric system after more than six years of maintaining and operating it,” he said. “In addition, the two service territories are adjacent to each other and overlap, in some cases. After Cadott’s system is updated, both CVEC and Cadott would be able to serve as a back-up to the other, in case of a power loss, a benefit to both Cadott electric customers and current CVEC members.”

By adding members to the non-profit, cost-of-service cooperative, the move is “just good stewardship,” as it helps spread fixed costs over more consumers. CVEC members’ rates would not change as a result of the proposed agreement.

There are many steps ahead in this process. A rate design study for Cadott residents is to be completed by Power System Engineering. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) would carry out its lengthy due diligence, to determine if the preliminary agreement is in the best interests of the public.

If the PSCW does approve it, Cadott residents would vote on it in a referendum, sometime in 2025.

More information can be found on an information website established for the proposed agreement, at cadott