Jackie Flowers, general manager of Idaho Falls Power, was elected chair of the board of directors of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) at the recent 2015 UAMPS Member Meeting in Salt Lake City.

Meanwhile, Mike Lehto, a member of the Idaho Falls City Council, was honored as Champion of Public Power at the same meeting.

Flowers, who has served on the board for a number of years, most recently has chaired two key committees for UAMPS -- the Horse Butte Wind Project Committee and the Carbon Free Power Project Committee. The Horse Butte project, located 16 miles east of Idaho Falls, consists of 32 wind turbines generating 57.6 megawatts of electricity. The Carbon Free Power Project committee is investigating the viability of developing a small modular nuclear reactor project, possibly located on land owned by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.

The Champion of Public Power Award recognizes an appointed official of a member city or utility who has provided many years of exceptional service to municipal public power, demonstrating vision and unusual devotion in the performance of their duties.

Because Lehto was unable to attend the meeting, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper accepted the award on his behalf. Lehto is completing his fourth 4-year term on the City Council and has served as liaison to the electric department for 15 years. He has been instrumental in leading Idaho Falls Power in establishing important new policies and has been a stalwart supporter and defender of public power.

During a period of electric industry upheaval, specifically the West Coast energy crisis, Lehto was instrumental in leading Idaho Falls Power in establishing and maintaining a strong Risk Management Policy and a healthy Rate Stabilization Fund.

He has been a very active advocate for public power, frequently attending national and regional events, including at least two UAMPS meetings per year.  He was nominated to the American Public Power Association’s Policy Maker Council in 2005, served as chair of the council and remained active with the council following the end of his year as chair.  He was awarded the Spencer Vanderlinden Public Official Award in 2011. 

Completing the year as City Council president, Lehto has decided after 16 years not to seek re-election.  His leadership in public power will be missed.

Presentations and speeches at the Member Meeting focused on UAMPS 2015 accomplishments, investigation of small modular nuclear energy technology, the challenges facing public power, and financing issues related to public power projects.

UAMPS is a joint action agency providing wholesale electricity and electric energy services to 45 public power utility members in eight western states. Established in 1980, UAMPS helps its members with planning, financing, development, acquisition, construction, operation and maintenance of various projects for the generation, supply, transmission and management of electric energy.