By a margin of more than 5,000 votes, members voted to bring back self-regulation to Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative.

This action removes VVEC from the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).

Members mailed in ballots until May 18. The ballots were compiled by an independent auditing firm for final counting.

Corey Haddock of the auditing firm Briscoe, Burke and Grigsby LLP, reported that 23,979 ballots were mailed April 20. Out of those 7,502 were received. 6,300 were in favor of removing the co-op from OCC jurisdiction; 1,193 were not and nine were categorized as undecided since it was difficult to read how the ballots were marked.

Removing VVEC from OCC regulations will result in about $26,000 annual savings to the co-op.

John Hibdon, president of the VVEC Board of Trustee, said in an early news release regarding self-regulation that since 1993 legislation was passed limiting the State’s ability to increase taxes, “the State has increased and established new ‘fees’ as a way of increasing revenues without a vote of the people. The OCC began levying per-meter assessment fees to every utility it regulates, and we are required to pay those fees,” he says. “The OCC can increase those fees at any time.”

As an independently regulated co-op, VVEC will no longer be subject to those fees.

Source: VVEC Power Circuit, a membership publication.

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