LPSC: Co-ops in need of reforms

MANY, La. – More open election of directors, term limits and restrictions on compensation are among the reforms proposed for Louisiana’s 10 rural electric cooperatives by their regulator, the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

“These co-ops are owned by their members, 900,000 customers statewide, but the management boards in some cases are treated as if they represent Fortune 500 corporations,” said Foster Campbell, LPSC District 5 commissioner.

The LPSC asked its staff in September to analyze the way co-ops elect and compensate their directors. The move was prompted by revelations that certain co-ops, such as Homer- based Claiborne Electric, were giving their part-time directors health insurance, expensive trips and generous per-diem payments.

Under subpoena, Claiborne in September disclosed that its nine-member board received an average of $35,000 in pay and benefits and that its highest-paid member collected nearly $50,000 last year.

“That’s unacceptable,” Campbell said. “Co-op members need assurance that the management teams they elect are working for the betterment of the co-ops, and not for their own personal benefit.”

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