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How Your Co-op Connects You To The World

A unique and powerful part of getting electric service as an electric co-op member is the way you’re plugged into an international network of support and expertise.

Some 900 electric co-ops across the country share line crews to restore power after a storm. They also share memberships in technical, engineering, research, and development groups to keep your electric service cutting-edge, cost-efficient, reliable, and safe.

I saw another part of that network on display this past fall at a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. About 900 co-op managers and directors from seven states, including Kentucky, met to craft policies that will help local co-ops speak with one strong national voice to state and national elected and regulatory officials.

The process begins early in the year, as small groups of co-op leaders and staff meet to consider all the concerns and issues that affect the quality, service, and cost of your electricity. Next, there’s a series of five regional meetings, like the one in Atlanta, where policy positions are described, discussed, and voted on by the co-op representatives.

The final stop is at the NRECA annual meeting, where the proposed resolutions are approved. This year’s meeting will be held in New Orleans next month.

A good example of those policy statements is this year’s two-page resolution supporting renewable energy. It describes several federal policy steps that could encourage the use of renewable energy by co-ops. It includes such intriguing ideas as classifying energy efficiency as renewable energy.

The democratically approved resolutions increase the effectiveness of co-ops as local leaders work to develop policies for reliable and affordable electric service.

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