HAYS — As the new year came, with it came the official merger of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation with Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc.

According to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation communications manager Cindy Hertel, the merger of the two cooperatively operated, wholesale electric utilities incorporates Mid-Kansas into Sunflower.

"Merging the two companies creates a company that is both operationally and financially stronger, which benefits cooperative members served by Sunflower’s member owners," Hertel said in a news release.

Steps to merge the cooperatives began in August 2018 when regulatory filings were made to the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Filings were also made to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval to combine transmission zones and rates.

The merger was approved in March 2019.

“The formation of Mid-Kansas by the Sunflower members gave more Kansans the opportunity to be served by the cooperative business model,” said Sunflower and Mid-Kansas president and CEO Stuart Lowry in a news release. “The success of Mid-Kansas has benefitted everyone — the members of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas and the thousands of Kansans they serve.”

Owned by six distribution cooperatives serving in western Kansas, members of Sunflower formed Mid-Kansas in 2005. The formation was made in order to make a bid on the sale of Aquila’s Kansas Electric Network properties.

Mid-Kansas began operation on April 1, 2007 and included five distribution cooperatives and one wholly owned subsidiary of a distribution cooperative that serves in central and western Kansas, according to Sunflower.

Since that time, the plan had been to merge Sunflower and Mid-Kansas.

According to Mid-Kansas board chairman Steve Epperson, merging Sunflower and Mid-Kansas resulted in a single wholesale rate that can better sustain its recent rate decreases for its end-users.

Vice president and chief financial officer of both utilities Davis Rooney added, “In addition to simplifying the two companies into one, there are multiple ways we will save costs. The merged entity will be both operationally and financially stronger.”

 

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