Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) marked a great achievement on July 13, when Lake Region Energy Services (the cooperative’s wholly owned natural gas subsidiary) went before a hearing of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
The PUC granted the cooperative an exemption (docket number G-6977/M-17-186) to be considered a small natural gas utility for the natural gas services it will provide in the Deer Creek and Parkers Prairie communities. This will allow Lake Region to set natural gas rates at the local level, as it does with electric rates.
“The action by the PUC puts an official stamp of approval on our efforts to help the residents of these communities with a planned investment of $1.6 million into natural gas infrastructure,” says LREC CEO Tim Thompson. “The Commissioners recognize that Minnesota’s electric cooperatives have done a lot of good for the state’s rural residents throughout the years.”
Thompson continues, “They also seemed pleased with Lake Region’s willingness to use the expertise gained from our 80 years in the electric distribution business and apply it to the natural gas business. The outcome is a significant step forward for Lake Region and affirms that we are leading the curve in providing energy services.”
Construction on the natural gas distribution infrastructure began in the spring of 2017. The cooperative expects to have gas flowing by this August.