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COM M E NTARY Oklahoma's legislative session begins O


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


fordable electricity.


Each year more than 2,000 bills are introduced. Bills that were not defeated or passed by vote from the fi rst session (last year) are still “alive.” It’s a lot to keep up with. With the help of legislative tracking tools and “boots on the ground” at the Capitol, we can be fairly certain that nothing will slip past us.


Oklahoma is an energy-rich state, and as you would expect, there are many energy-related bills introduced each year. They often deal with produc- tion tax credits, transportation fuels, and renewable energy. Some even go so far as to try to mandate which fuel should be used to generate electricity within the state. We take a position of being “fuel neutral,” preferring not to favor one energy type


I


J. Chris Cariker President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n the January edi- tion of Oklahoma Living, I listed the


fi rst three cornerstones of the electric coop- erative business model. These values, known as the ‘Rochdale Prin- ciples,’ total seven in number, and every type of cooperative strives to adhere to and prac- tice these guidelines. As mentioned last


month, the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers founded these seven core principles. Throughout 2012, Oklahoma Living magazine will be featuring stories about how local electric cooperatives are still following these rules of business conduct today. This month, I’d like to spend some time visiting about the fourth and fi fth principles. 4: Autonomy and Independence Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organi- zations controlled by their members. While similar in operation, each electric coopera- tive in Oklahoma—and there are 30 of them—is au- tonomous and independent of the other. In other words, the members of each local cooperative gov- ern only their co-op, not any others (unless they also hold a membership in an adjacent electric co-op). The members are charged with the responsibil-


4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


n February 6th the second ses- sion of the 53rd Oklahoma Legislature begins. Just like every other legislative ses- sion, your cooperative is watching carefully for any proposed leg- islation that impacts —positively or nega- tively—your coopera- tive’s ability to deliver safe, reliable, and af-


over another. Our interest is in making sure that we have the ability to choose fuel sources that make sense for you and keep your costs affordable. Our non-profi t status puts us in a position of always advocating for you, the member. We don’t have a confl ict between profi t and service. Every position we take on a legislative issue is for the long-term benefi t of our members as it relates to providing electric service. While our position on most issues matches closely with that of investor- owned utilities, we do have unique differences that only we can protect and/or preserve. It is absolutely critical that we maintain a strong presence at the State Capitol.


Your Oklahoma Association of Electric Coopera- tives legislative staff reviews each and every bill in- troduced. We look for and fl ag those that have the potential to impact your cooperative. We continue to monitor them throughout the session watching for amendments that could make the bill some- thing other than it was when originally fi led. We work closely with your legislators, as well as our friends inside and outside the energy industry, to ensure that only fair and balanced energy bills are passed. Be assured that as the session progress- es, your electric cooperative will be fully engaged in the process. We will diligently work to stop or amend bills that do not take a fair and reasonable approach to achieving safe, reliable, and affordable electricity. OL


Getting to know the seven cooperative principles—Part 2


ity of electing a local Board of Directors to over- see the implementation of policies that determine the extent of programs and services offered to each member of the co-op.


Each co-op must abide by state and national laws and regulations that pertain to their operations, but governance rests almost exclusively with the locally elected Board, which also is charged with hiring a manager to oversee day-to-day operations. 5: Education, Training, and Information Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. This fi fth principle is especially pertinent in to- day’s ever-changing world of technology and in- novation. In order to help hold the line on energy usage and reduce costs associated with building new power generation facilities, co-ops across the country are educating their members about new, energy effi cient appliances and daily living practices that can help stave off the need for expensive new generation units.


Co-ops are duty-bound to keep their members informed about ways to save energy, and to reduce the overall cost of providing reliable, dependable electric service. Board members and employees also participate in extensive training, keeping abreast of the latest technological trends within the industry. Next month, I’ll conclude by listing the fi nal two ‘Rochdale Principles,’ numbers six and seven. OL


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . General Manager J. Chris Cariker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .President Glenn Propps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-President Joe Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary-Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Larry Skoch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advertising Manager lskoch@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Kirbi Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kbailey@oaec.coop


Emilia Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communications Assistant ebuchanan@oaec.coop Hayley Imel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Multimedia Specialist himel@ok-living.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309 Phone (405) 478-1455 Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop


Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members. $6.00 per year for non-members.


Cooperative Members: : Report change of ad- dress to your local rural electric cooperative. Non-Cooperative Members: Send address changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968), USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Coopera- tives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 316,818 Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley, Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


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