Making sure that electric bills are affordable to consumers across the nation was the focus of the nearly 3,000 electric cooperative leaders who descended on Washington, D.C., for a legislative conference sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Representatives from the 900-plus electric cooperatives visited Capitol Hill offices during the conference to discuss a wide range of issues, including climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Dwayne Cartwright, general manager; Tom Fleener, director; and James White, director of Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association, Licking, were part of a 52-strong group of rural electric leaders from Missouri who took part in the annual legislative rally.
With Congress considering climate change legislation that has the potential to increase the cost of electricity for electric cooperative members, the timing of this year’s rally couldn’t have been better.
“This was a critical time to be meeting with our elected officials. They need to hear our message that rural people can not take another hike in their electric bills,” said Barry Hart, executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Missouri’s delegation met with their respective U.S. representatives, including Ike Skelton, Sam Graves, Jo Ann Emerson, Roy Blunt, Todd Akin, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Russ Carnahan, and both Sen. Kit Bond and Sen. Claire McCaskill, in addition to urban legislators Emanuel Cleaver and Lacy Clay. The cooperative leaders found a welcome reception and strong support from the entire Missouri leadership.
The key issues shared with elected officials included energy efficiency mandates, climate change legislation, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and renewable energy standards.