Is the Name Change Made in Conjunction with Different Ownership/Leadership, a Reorganization, or Merger?
Why Did You Change Your Name?
The board of directors of the joint power agency, formerly known as Utilities Plus/Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, wanted a name that better reflected its portfolio management and consulting services offered in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The name change does not reflect different ownership or leadership, or a reorganization, or merger.
The name Central Municipal Power Agency/Services (CMPAS - pronounced “compass”), corresponding logo, and tagline “Municipal Compass to Power” accurately describes the services and access to partnerships that CMPAS delivers to electric utilities.
“Central Municipal Power Agency/Services will continue to serve as a municipal, consumer-owned, non-profit agency that helps municipal utilities identify strategies that minimize wholesale power costs, manage future risks, and maintain stable, competitive rates. CMPAS remains committed to helping municipal utility boards address their full or partial requirement needs while allowing them flexibility and autonomy to customize their own electric energy portfolio.” Wendy Meyer, CMPAS Board Chair and City Administrator of Mountain Lake, MN.
What Does CMPAS Do?
There’s a saying that if you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.
With CMPAS, municipal electric utilities know where they’re going.
When a municipal utility needs specialized planning and procurement services for power supply and transmission related projects, it can turn to the team at Central Municipal Power Agency/Services. As more than just a traditional, full-requirements power agency, CMPAS serves in a consultative role as a strategic portfolio advisor providing management, staffing, and services to municipals.
Over the agency’s twenty-eight year history, it has attained transmission ownership status in the MISO regional transmission grid, negotiated contracts for power purchases and other long-term projects, initiated coalitions to study power supply options, and arranged for excess energy capacity sales. You can review its in-depth timeline of accomplishments on behalf of its members here.
What Benefits Do Members Receive?
Belonging to CMPAS, members receive a greater understanding of the inherent risks and costs drivers of their existing portfolio. As a municipal compass to power, CMPAS automatically provides members individualized resource planning, quantitative analysis of generation and transmission alternatives, and due diligence checks. Members can also select other power supply, transmission, energy market, and utility services from CMPAS’s list of offerings.
CMPAS helps members identify strategies that minimize wholesale power costs, manage future risks, and maintain stable and competitive rates. Members retain the flexibility to select their power supply from a combination of sources including local member-owned, self-supplied resources; agency-sponsored projects; third-party supplied sources.
Members are not obligated to procure power supply exclusively from the agency. Instead, they participate voluntarily, and each member makes its own final decision.
How do I join CMPAS?
Members: For a base membership fee, a municipal electric utility can join Central Municipal Power Agency/Services (CMPAS) to receive strategic planning and power supply services, preference rights to CMPAS-sponsored projects, and access to other cost-shared services on an ala carte basis. Full members sign a five-year membership contract with voting participation on the board of directors. Since membership by itself does not obligate a utility to exclusively purchase energy from the agency, power supply contracts are arranged separately.
Affiliates: With CMPAS board approval, utilities can participate as affiliate non-members in agency sponsored power supply and transmission projects as well as services. Planning services are not automatic for affiliate members.
Please contact the CMPAS team at 507-526-2193 or info@CMPASgroup.org if you are interested in joining, participating or have questions.
How Does a Project Agency Work?
Quite simply, membership or affiliation with a project agency is like being a member of a buyer’s club. While members retain autonomy over their local, electric utility portfolios of 1) self-supplied, 2) third-party generated, or 3) agency-aggregated resources, they look to their project agency for strategic advice regarding future power needs. In addition to strategic advice, CMPAS helps municipal utilities navigate the complexities of the power industry with cost sharing support services to manage the operational aspects of their portfolios.
In a project agency, members voluntarily subscribe to projects or joint purchases by entering into separate downstream contracts as the agency contracts for each specific resource for each member. The agency aggregates project subscriptions from all participants and procures for the aggregated purchase in an upstream contract with other joint partners or vendor(s). The agency only procures power supply for secured downstream subscription contracts. The agency segregates cost by performing hourly energy accounting for each members’ individual portfolio. The agency treats power supply as a pass-through cost plus a scheduling and project administration fee.
CMPAS’s business model is a perfect match for independent-minded municipals that want to manage and exercise final approval for their portfolio decisions. With strategic recommendations from CMPAS, utilities know where they are headed in meeting their power supply, transmission, and energy market needs.
What Process is Used to Form Project Ventures?
In a project agency, the agency’s general fund covers initial project development costs until the project is defined enough to assign subscriptions. Once subscribers sign a project development contract, the agency separately tracks costs by subscription quantity so that each subscriber funds the project according to their proportional share. To move forward with projects, the agency uses the subscriptions to obtain project financing. When operational, the agency charges a monthly administration fee for managing the project.
Unless utilities choose to participate, CMPAS members are not responsible for development costs and are not obligated to purchase energy every time the group goes to the marketplace. This approach is unique to project-oriented joint action agencies and is remarkably different from an all-requirements model that requires participation in all power agency projects.
What is CMPAS's Governance Structure and Its Relationship With Its Members?
Central Municipal Power Agency/Services serves as a traditional public power joint action agency and service organization. It is jointly owned by twelve member cities in Minnesota and governed by a 12 member board of directors.
Not-for-profit municipal electric utilities are directly accountable to the customers they serve through local elected or appointed officials. Similarly, CMPAS is governed by and accountable to its member municipals. CMPAS exists as their members' support organization, created and governed by them for the purpose of collaborating with other municipals like them. As a result, CMPAS's serves in a consultative role instead of as a vendor. CMPAS functions in a fiduciary role as a portfolio strategic advisor providing unbiased, independent recommendations and solutions. CMPAS provides members the critical information and comparative analysis they need to make well-informed, strategic decisions.