Dairyland Power Cooperative saw profits fall about 13 percent in 2016, according to the La Crosse utility’s annual report.

That was precipitated in part by a $3.5 million drop in operating revenues, which chief financial officer Phil Moilien attributed to a mild winter, decreased electricity use in the commercial sector and lower prices for electricity the company sells on the market.

Moilien said the $23 million operating margin was about $1 million above budget projections.

Total expenses were up slightly, according to the annual report. Increases in maintenance, depreciation and other operating expenses were offset by lower fuel prices and the cost of purchased power.

Company spokeswoman Katie Thomson said as a cooperative, Dairyland seeks to turn a profit while keeping rates as low as possible for its member-owners.

Dairyland did not increase wholesale rates for 2017 after a 1.95 percent increase last year, and CEO Barb Nick pointed out that the company’s rates are lower than other regional generation and transmission cooperatives.

With $1.6 billion in generation assets, Dairyland has about 550 employees and 3,195 miles of transmission line, serving more than 258,000 customers of 41 member cooperatives and municipal utilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Nick said Dairyland expects its assets to grow by 61 percent over the next eight years to $2.5 billion.

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Reporter

Rhymes with Lubbock. La Crosse Tribune reporter and data geek. Covers energy, transportation and the environment, among other things. Call him at 608-791-8217.

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