Co-Op Conversations exists as a tool to educate cooperative members in Michigan, and beyond, about potential problems that exist today in some co-ops right here in America. The question every co-op member needs to ask is “If I am a member-owner, would I risk my hard earned money this way?”

The only financial analysis that has been done for members benefit was by Tom Sanzillo of T.R. Rose & Asso. in January 2008. This analysis, done by a prominent national financial expert, shows that the cost of electricity from the Rogers City coal plant will nearly triple current co-op rates (the rate you pay for electricity). When asked to comment on the report, Wolverine CEO Eric Baker said it would not be a good use of member money to look at the findings. Wolverine has yet to publish the projected cost of electricity from their proposed plant, after 3 years of development. Do you find it suspicious that no estimate for the cost of power has been given? pdf

Co-op members in Montana asked that question too late and are now paying $30 per month for the next 35 years for a coal plant that will never be built (click here). Co-op members in Texas had to file suit against their co-op management (click here) … and another Texas cooperative had to get the state Attorney General to investigate how the member funds were being misused (click here).

Things got so bad that Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper authored a report about how co-ops have lost their way, and may not be living up to their original purpose. His report is available by clicking here. And there is legislation introduced in Texas to try and reign in abuse by co-op boards and management (click here). PDF

Co-Op Conversations had to shut down operations for a few years between 2009 and 2011. During this time we kept all of our important things in a self storage unit in Detroit, which we rented from Self Storage Base had the lowest prices we found, and they also offer self storage in Chicago, self storage in Dallas, self storage in Houston, self storage in Phoenix, and self storage in Las Vegas as well as a ton of other cities in the U.S.

We wholeheartedly believe in the fundamental ideals of the cooperative business structure. But also believe the member owners deserve the opportunity to learn all sides of how the cooperative is conducting your business.

We believe that the Wolverine coal plant in Rogers City is a very unwise proposal at this time, risking current member equity and future rate increases for decades to members.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why the proposal is a very large risk to you, the rate-payer:

  • Skyrocketing construction costs
  • Greenhouse Gas Regulations
  • Energy Demand Declining, Creating Surplus
  • Current Economic Recession, and its effect on future demand
  • Members want to keep rates as low as possible during recession
  • Reliance on Fossil Fuels is becoming increasingly risky