From developing an econometric model that allows us to accurately forecast our loads in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) to the creation of our current tariff model which accommodates multiple transmission rate scenarios, the integrity of Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates work product is second to none.
RPGI has benefited from the experience and knowledge of Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates with regard to transmission and power supply. They understand how changing attitudes in society and technological advances will affect energy markets in general and these two components of the electric energy industry in particular. Thanks to their expertise and foresight, RPGI was able to revamp its power supply purchasing strategy by offsetting an incremental increase in market risk with hedges against price spikes by using our generation assets and the benefits from regional negative pricing. This has allowed us to keep our energy costs manageable and our rates very competitive.
No one understands the complexities of electric energy policy better than Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates. They are steeped in its history and understand the nuances of how proposed changes to regulations will impact organizations such as RPGI. They have advised RPGI extensively on matters before the Iowa Utilities Board and FERC for years. With transmission costs nearing 45 percent of our total power supply costs, Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates, Inc. have shown us how to capitalize on lesser-known transmission strategies which help our members hold down costs to their customers. They are the experts’ expert when it comes to areas of transmission.
RPGI is a Market Participant in the MISO and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Participation in both organizations can create time management conflicts when you are operating with limited resources. With assistance from Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates we are able to ensure adequate coverage of important webinars and stakeholder meetings which help to ensure an excellent level of compliance with ever-changing market initiatives. Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates, Inc. understand the importance of showing up. They have helped RPGI “show up” and increase our visibility with these and other organizations as well as maintaining a regular schedule of in-person visits.Kris Stubbs, Chief Administrative Officer
Grain and Feed Association of Illinois
In 2005, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI) was looking for ways to help our members transition to a different way of purchase electricity due to changes in state law. We were referred to Latham, Ervin, Vognsen & Associates (LEV) whom we asked to conduct a study on the economic feasibility of forming a consortium to purchase electricity and natural gas. The detailed study provided the confidence we needed to form the GFAI Energy Consortium.
LEV has been with us every step of the way by providing practical advice and common-sense solutions to our needs. The fact that they provide us with information and independent advice instead of the commodities of electricity and natural gas, gives us great confidence that they are guiding our consortium in the right direction.
Without reservation, the best thing we did when looking to help our members deal with electricity and natural gas issues was to hire LEV.Jeff Adkisson, CAE, Executive Vice President and Treasurer
Missouri School Boards' Association
The Missouri School Boards' Association worked with Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates (LEV) to secure legislative authority and subsequently develop and implement a natural gas purchasing program for schools in Missouri. While the program began in 2002, there was much groundwork done prior to that time with the leadership and services of LEV. The expertise and counsel of LEV has been invaluable to MSBA throughout the history of the program as we have had internal changes, and LEV has always made certain anyone new understood the basics of the program.
LEV has worked with MSBA and our purchasing agency to monitor the market, changes within the pipeline industry and activities of the utilities to make certain we are in the best position to offer our participants the best pricing on natural gas. We have found their work in other states and knowledge of what has happened or is happening in those states to be of great benefit to our program. Additionally, LEV has provided monitoring and basic audit services related to billing of our participants. They have been forthright with their findings and communication of such.
A key element over the years has been the expertise offered by LEV not only in our regular operations and examining the market, both current and future, but also in our dealings with the Missouri Public Service Commission. They have been outstanding in providing a 360-degree analysis of the issues and potential impacts as we have dealt with numerous cases over the years. At the same time, they are also very conscientious of the cost to the program and firmly advise as to the potential cost-benefit of involvement in some cases. They stand strong for the interest of the program.
Simply put, LEV has been a critical partner in our Missouri Natural Gas Consortium. Their expertise and servant attitude have allowed MSBA to develop and maintain a program we simply could not have done on our own. I am available to respond to inquiries from any firm or agency considering LEV as a potential client or partner.Michael D. Parnell, Associate Executive Director, Member Relations and School Business Services
Large Energy Group
The Large Energy Group (LEG) is a group of industrial companies and institutional organizations that have joined together to monitor electric rates in the Alliant Energy territory in Iowa (IPL) and respond to utility rate cases to ensure that electricity rates are fair and reasonable. We partner with the Latham, Ervin, Vognsen & Associates consulting firm in Cedar Rapids for their expertise in these matters.
LEV has represented our group for many years and is a strong advocate for Alliant Energy customers and Iowa residents in energy regulation that comes before the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and the Iowa state government.
LEV serves as LEG’s sole technical adviser and directs our legal proceedings with the Iowa Utilities Board. The LEG was also active in 2018 with providing information and feedback to the Iowa legislature during debate on the Omnibus Energy bill; thanks to LEV's diligence and expertise in energy regulations, the LEG had a direct impact on limiting some of the more expensive aspects of the proposed bill.
LEG members have found that our investment with LEV has been returned to us many times over in electricity savings and avoided costs associated with utility rate cases and legislation.Mark Weldon, President of LEG
St. Luke's/ Coe College
Following the devastating 2008 Cedar Rapids flood and loss of our district steam services, St. Luke’s Hospital and Coe College decided to partner in development of a shared steam plant. We opened our new plant in 2010 and needed assistance with procurement and market consulting as natural gas was a significant component of managing our energy cost over time.
Fortunately, we were familiar with Latham, Ervin, Vognsen and Associates and asked for their assistance developing and executing a request for proposal for natural gas suppliers. Acting as a consultant, Louie Ervin lead our leadership team through an evaluation of options and proposals until we selected a supplier that fully met our needs.
LEV has continued to assist our leadership team as we consider how to best manage the natural gas market. Louie has been key in helping us look to manage risk and cost over the past nine years. We have locked in a significant portion of our winter fuel demand at times and have gone more at risk without locking in prices when conditions look more favorable.
Our decision to use LEV to navigate the natural gas market has been one of the best decisions we have made and resulted in savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I am pleased to recommend their services to others to assist with developing a solid and cost effective model for managing your natural gas cost.Michael Easley, Director Facility Operations, UnityPoint – St. Luke’s/Coe College
Nebraska Joint Utility Management Program
The Nebraska Association of School Boards offers a natural gas purchasing program called Nebraska Joint Utility Management Program (NJUMP) to our school district members who receive their gas through the Black Hills Energy pipeline. This was started primarily for the purpose of relieving school district personnel from the difficult task of choosing gas suppliers and helping them to reduce the uncertainty of budgeting for a major commodity in a changing environment. Latham, Ervin, Vognsen & Associates (LEV) has served as our natural gas consultant since forming our interlocal consortium 15 years ago.
The knowledge LEV have provided about natural gas market trends, gas providers, best purchasing practices and general oversight for our program has been an invaluable asset in providing our participants with reliable gas supplies at very competitive prices. LEV has consistently brought insightful overviews of the natural gas industry, market analysis, and timely notifications for finding opportunities to secure our members’ gas supplies.
LEV's very professional and thorough assistance has allowed us to grow this program to its potential and ensure our member districts that they have the best industry expertise available on their side. From the very beginning, we have relied on LEV to implement, analyze and monitor all the technical aspects of our gas purchase program.
We continually rely on LEV to point out when the best opportunities arise for securing those supplies and for reviewing the records and reports of our purchase transactions. We simply could not have offered this program to our members without the industry expertise that LEV has brought to us over the last decade and a half.Jim Leubbe, Nebraska Association of School Boards, NJUMP Secretary and Treasurer