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UDWI Electric Co-Op Ends 'Benefits For Life' Policy

UDWI

The Utilities District of Western Indiana is ending a policy that required the electric co-op to provide health benefits to employees, board directors, and their spouses for life.

According to a media statement the policy will continue to cover retirees who are currently receiving the benefits.

The new policy applies to current and future employees and directors.

UDWI says ending the “benefits for life” policy removes about $3 million in debt liability for the co-op, a debt the co-op expected to increase “significantly” as more people retire and health care costs rise.

The Board of Directors voted to end the policy saying, it was “financially unsustainable and added unnecessary risk to the cooperative.”

“Our first priority is to run the cooperative with the best interests of the members in mind, and continuing this benefits for life policy was not serving our members,” said UDWI Board President Ron Thompson in a statement. “We value our employees and want to make sure their experience working at UDWI is a positive one, but we cannot continue to provide benefits after they retire. We have to make decisions that are for the greater good of the membership and the fiscal health of the coop—this is one of those decisions.”

UDWI customers pay one of the highest rates for electricity in the Midwest.

Three new board members who were elected this spring ran as the change candidates and pledged to curb spending.

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