Working for balanced energy policies
As your electric cooperative, we’ve worked for decades to ensure that you have a safe, reliable and affordable supply of electricity. Keeping in touch with legislators at the state and federal level has always been an important piece of that work, and it’s even more vital now, with the energy transformation that’s underway in our country.
We’re part of a strong cooperative network, led by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) and the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA). The strength of our collaboration produced positive results for co-op members in 2015.
The Minnesota Legislature, recognizing the impact small-scale renewable energy systems can have on cooperatives and municipal utilities, authorized a distributed generation (DG) cost recovery fee. ECE will implement this DG Grid Access fee for newly-interconnected facilities installed on our system beginning in April 2016. The fee will help us equitably balance the cost of delivering electricity to all members.
Legislators also provided electric co-ops with access to state cost-share funds for federal disaster relief and enacted “Move Over” legislation, requiring that motorists move over, if possible, to the lane farthest away from utility vehicles parked along a roadside. In Wisconsin, utility vehicles were exempted from seasonal weight restrictions on certain roads, and changes were made to electronic voting methods for cooperative members.
Congress passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, paving the way for co-ops to expand the use of large-capacity electric resistance water heaters in our off-peak programs and allowing more renewable resources to be integrated into the electric grid. Legislation was signed that strengthens cybersecurity, authorizing robust information sharing between and among federal agencies and the utility industry.
Serious concerns remain about the financial impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan will have on cooperative members. NRECA estimates the total cost to all co-ops could reach $28 billion over the full compliance period. We’re working with co-ops around the country for legislative and legal solutions that address this challenge.
As energy issues continue to arise on state and federal legislative agendas, we’ll work diligently for policies that keep you connected 24/7 to safe, reliable and affordable electricity.