According to a press release from Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Tri-County Electric Cooperative of Rushford, Minn., will officially merge with Hawkeye REC, of Cresco, Iowa, to become MiEnergy Cooperative on January 1, 2017.

As the two co-ops become one, providing quality, local service will continue to be the top priority.

"Our commitment to our members has never been stronger," said Brian Krambeer, president/CEO of both cooperative. "The purpose of this merger is to make two strong electric cooperatives even stronger and better prepared for the future."

Members of both cooperatives have seen the signs of an official merger, as vehicles, clothing and outdoor signs have been re branded. Directors, staff and employees have been working since April to ensure a smooth transition.

The trick is the pronunciation of thew newly merged cooperative. The new name and its spelling reference the joining of a Minnesota (M) cooperative and an Iowa (i) cooperative. The name, pronounced with a long I, also demonstrates the ownership by individual members - MiEngery is "my energy cooperative."

Members should feel ensured that they will still get the same quality service that both cooperatives have been providing for years.

"You will still be able to stop by the local office to ask a question. We will continue to have employees answering and routing your calls during normal business hours, not an automated attendant," Krambeer said. "There will be anew name in January, but the employees who members have gotten to know and trust over the years will remain."