Frequently Asked Questions

Central Municipal Power Agency/Services (CMPAS – pronounced “compass”) serves as a public power joint action agency providing power management and utility services for its electric utility members and affiliates throughout the Upper Midwest. As an agent of the Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (CMMPA), CMPAS operates as a project-oriented, partial or full-requirements agency.

Central Municipal Power Agency/Services (CMPAS – pronounced “compass”) serves as a public power joint action agency providing power management and utility services for its electric utility members and affiliates throughout the Upper-Midwest. As an agent of the Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (CMMPA), CMPAS operates as a project-oriented, partial or full-requirements agency.

The team at CMPAS guides public power utilities through resource planning, power procurement, transmission ownership and support, and distribution system modernization. Based on their project preferences, we help local utility personnel serve as their city’s trusted electricity provider. Learn more about our team.

As a municipal compass to power, CMPAS provides strategic advice for utilities to make informed decisions that help them optimize their overall utility portfolio. As a joint power agency and utility services organization, we identify utility strategies that minimize wholesale power costs, manage future risks, and maintain stable and competitive rates.

CMPAS conducts personalized, comprehensive planning that helps utilities determine their power supply from a combination of local self-supplied resources; agency-sponsored projects; or third-party contracts.

Utilities gain a greater understanding of their power portfolio’s inherent risks and cost drivers from CMPAS’s team of industry specialists. These specialists apply best practices in power supply planning and development, energy economics, energy scheduling in the MISO and SPP markets, transmission ownership and management, distribution planning, energy efficiency, utility accounting and finance, and regulatory and industry compliance.

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CMPAS’s project-oriented business model allows for collaboration that positions participants in a mutually-beneficial way. Coordinating the needs of project participants and sharing costs, CMPAS leverages purchasing power, economies of scale, and professional expertise that lead to more price-competitive, agency-sponsored projects.

Markedly different from an “all in” full requirements agency, utilities in a project agency belong as either full or partial requirements members and are not obligated to participate in agency projects. Each member of CMPAS maintains a wholesale rate structure that is reflected by the resources of their chosen power portfolio.

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While remaining autonomous from other utility members’ decisions, public power utilities can participate in CMPAS’s project-based framework in a variety of ways:

  1. Membership
    On a full or partial requirement basis, members receive services that include personalized resource planning and portfolio risk analysis. Members cost-share on a proportional basis for the projects and services they select. Membership also entails a seat on the board of directors.
  2. Fee-Based Services
    • Power supply planning
    • MISO or SPP energy scheduling
    • My Energy Savings rebate program and energy efficiency consultations for businesses
    • Distribution system planning, mapping, and modeling
  3. Agency-Sponsored Projects and Power Supply and Transmission Coalitions
    CMPAS facilitates participation in agency-sponsored projects that range from the CAPX Brookings transmission project, the Point Beach Nuclear purchase, or the R4 community-solar project.

For utilities facing similar generation and transmission needs, CMPAS leads and organizes collaborative power supply planning study coalitions that can lead to a request for proposals solicitation and personalized evaluations for each utility. Coalition participants benefit from aggregating with a larger group in a process that produces more bids, more alternatives, and competitive pricing.

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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. CMPAS is an agent of the Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and operates as a project-based agency rather than an all-requirements agency.

Our not-for-profit municipal public power utilities are directly accountable to the customers they serve through local elected or appointed public utility commissions or boards. Similarly, CMPAS is governed by and accountable to its member municipals. CMPAS exists as a support organization, created and governed by utilities for the purpose of collaborating with other utilities. CMPAS functions as a strategic portfolio advisor providing unbiased, independent recommendations, and solutions for each utility.