The Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association (Ontonagon REA) has announced a new, long-term wholesale power supply agreement with Wolverine Power Cooperative (Wolverine) that begins next year and will reduce the UP Cooperative’s future power supply costs. These cost reductions may allow Ontonagon REA to consider future retail rate reductions and/or operational improvements such as increased tree trimming, reliability initiatives or the addition of new personnel.
Currently, Ontonagon REA receives its power supply from two Wisconsin utilities. The new agreement with Wolverine, a Michigan-based cooperative, begins, in part, in 2019 as the first power supply agreement expires. The full impact of this new agreement will begin benefitting Ontonagon REA members in 2021, when the other Wisconsin wholesale power supply agreement expires.
“Our board of directors is certainly pleased with our new power supply agreement with Wolverine,” said Debbie Miles, Ontonagon REA General Manager. “Wolverine is not only a member-owned cooperative like we are but, just as importantly, they are one of the state’s leading and most competitive wholesale power suppliers.”
Under the new agreement, a portion of which begins in 2019, Wolverine will also be responsible for ensuring Ontonagon REA meets the Michigan 15% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2020. Wolverine is the state’s leader in renewable energy and carbon-free supply with a diverse portfolio of generating assets in Michigan that will be used to meet Ontonagon REA’s future power supply needs.
“This new partnership with Wolverine will result in more competitive retail rates for Ontonagon REA member-consumers,” Miles said. “In addition, this new partnership with Wolverine also enhances the electric cooperative footprint in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and we think that is good for the UP and its residents.”
Ontonagon REA serves approximately 5,000 members throughout portions of Houghton, Baraga, Keweenaw and Ontonagon Counties. Based in Cadillac, Michigan, Wolverine Power Cooperative serves six member cooperatives and provides wholesale power to their more than 350,000 member consumers throughout portions of 59 Michigan counties.