General Manager & Board Chair Report


Pictured l-r: Board Chair Aaron Hoernke & General Manger Jon Congdon

Rates, Riverside Investment, and Cost of Service Study

We’ve experienced demand rate increases from our wholesale power provider, Alliant Energy. The increase is due to Alliant’s power generation improvements, the cost to generate power, and renewable energy investments to keep up with federal clean energy mandates.

The return on investment we’re receiving from our 4.5% ownership in the West Riverside Energy Center is built into our energy rates for our members. Receiving a return on this investment has helped stabilize rates at our cooperative. Our investment continues to show cost savings for our members and has helped us forgo rate increases that would have been necessary in the past. Our last kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate increase for residential members was in 2018, and we’re working hard to keep rates as low as possible, considering the current economy.

In 2024, we‘ll be working with Power System Engineering (PSE) to conduct a full cost of service study across all rate classes. Economic pressures, such as material costs, power generation, system improvements, and more, have played a major role in the finances at our cooperative. The cost of service study will ensure our rates are set correctly and we are recovering our costs fair and equitably across all rate classes.

Patronage Capital

As a cooperative we are guided by seven cooperative principles. Our third cooperative principle is Members’ Economic Participation, which means excess margins are given back to our member-owners each year through our patronage capital allocation and retirement processes. Our board of directors allocates our margins back to the membership in the spring each year after our audit is complete. The board determines the amount we refund once it ensures we have appropriate funds we need to operate. In 2023, our board returned a total of $7.8 million to our members. Keep an eye out for more details about patronage capital in upcoming issues of The Wire.


Due to material costs and constraints in our industry the last few years, we’ve built up an emergency stock of materials so we’re prepared for a major storm. We’ve been fortunate not to use this emergency stock. We’ll continue to keep an adequate level of materials on hand to ensure we can provide safe and reliable power to our members.

In the next 3-4 years we will have two new substations on our system. These substation additions will improve the resiliency of our distribution system and support future load growth. We’ve applied for a consortium grant through National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to assist with funding the substation projects to reduce the cost to our membership.

We’ve also applied for a grid resiliency grant through the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to support a project to bring underground lines from our Friendship substation to our office in Friendship. The project also provides an interconnection point for the potential of a utility-grade solar field adjacent to our office as well as a public electric vehicle charger.

Commitment to Community

Our seventh cooperative principle is Concern for Community which is highlighted through the variety of programs and services we offer to communities throughout our service area.
  • Our Toys for Tots program impacted over 3,000 children in 2023. This program continues to grow and make connections with local organizations and businesses to make Christmas special for many families.
  • In the summer months, our Stuff the Bus program collects new, unused school supplies which are donated to three programs throughout our service area to get kids prepared for the school year.
  • Operation Round-Up grants are available for individuals and organizations in our service area, and we’re proud to have awarded over $40,000 to 29 applicants in 2023. We’re nearing the $1 million mark for the total amount our program has awarded over the years. Members can support this program by enrolling in Operation Round-Up.
  • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculums are supported through our STEM Grant program. In 2023, we awarded over $26,000 to 31 classes. Help us spread the word about this grant opportunity to educators you know.
  • Safety is our number one priority, and we express the importance of safety by offering our free safety program. This educational program includes a classroom setting presentation and our hotline demonstration. It can be tailored for any age group, and we travel to you for free. Through this program we have educated schools, contractors, fire departments, and first responders about electrical safety. To schedule a free safety program, give us a call at (800) 831-8629.