The Power of Membership
Are you a member of the Lincoln County Power District No. 1? That may seem like a strange question, You may have been a customer of Lincoln County Power for many years and think that makes you are a member. But in reality you actually may not be a member. The reason is because of the unique history of Lincoln County Power. The driving force that created Lincoln County Power in 1937 were the mines and mills in an around Pioche. Consequently, Lincoln County Power's boundary originally only encompassed the areas around Pioche, Caselton and parts of Dry Valley. In contrast, the service area of Lincoln County Power has been defined to include all of Lincoln County and part of Clark County. The difference is that Lincoln County Power can provide retail and wholesale electric service to all of its customers in its designated service area, but only those customers who are in the boundary of Lincoln County Power are actually members.
Over the years, the boundary of Lincoln County Power has changed, as individual property owners have requested to become part of Lincoln County Power. Individuals parcels in Panaca, Meadow Valley, Eagle Valley, Rachel and Mt. Wilson areas, as well as Coyote Springs are now also included in Lincoln County Power's boundary.
As you read this you may be thinking customers get electric service, members get electric service, they each pay the same rates for electric service, and so what’s the difference? The difference is local democracy. Members of Lincoln County Power get to vote for the Board of Trustees and get to serve as members of the Board of Trustees. Lincoln County Power is a not-for-profit, locally governed, community based electric utility. It is organized under Chapter 318 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. The Board of Trustees sets high level policy, provides a fiduciary responsibility and gives direction to the general manager of Lincoln County Power.
Participation in the democratic process is important. Anyone, be they member or customer, can come to meetings of the Board of Trustees and offer their comments and suggestions. But to be able to vote and run for an office is what defines true democracy. In my opinion, every retail customer of Lincoln County Power should be a member of Lincoln County Power. To become one only requires the owner of a parcel of land to submit a petition to the Board of Trustees to have their property included. The petition can be found on our website under the My Utility tab.
Over the years I have heard some customers say they don’t want to be members because it could expose their property to a tax liability. In a theoretical sense, the law does allow a district to assess a tax. But in reality, including your property in the boundary of Lincoln County Power will not result in a tax liability because of how taxing authority is delegated to government entities other than Lincoln County Power and because Lincoln County Power gets its income from electric energy sales and not taxes. In 83 years of existenc, Lincoln County Power has never taxed, and it never will.
I would encourage customers who are not members to give me a call. Or talk with someone in your area who is a member. Call our office and we can put you in contact with someone in your area that is a member, like Richard Katschke or Dylan Frehner in Panaca who can tell you why they chose not only to be a customer, but to be a member.