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COM M E NTARY Major investments to be made in older plants S


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


ince our begin- ning 75 years ago, electric co-


operatives have suc- cessfully met


your


growing demand for electricity in an af- fordable manner. As demand grows, new power plants are built to meet your needs using the best avail- able


technology at the time and using a


fuel source believed to provide the lowest cost. Building a new power plant is very expensive. Fortunately these plants have long lives—up to 50 years. The initial cost is spread over the life of the plant, which allows your electric cooperative to keep rates fairly consistent.


As these plants age, they require constant mainte-


nance and upgrades to meet ever-changing regula- tory rules and to maintain the highest effi ciencies. Historically, the costs associated with maintenance, regulatory compliance, and upgrades have been reasonable and cost-effective investments. This tra- ditional and predictable pattern of investment in new and existing plants has resulted in stable and affordable electric bills—but that is about to change.


J. Chris Cariker President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n January, I began a series of editorials designed to explain the seven principles that make cooperatives unique in the business world. To date, we’ve covered the first five “Rochdale Principles”: 1) Voluntary and Open Membership; 2) Demo- cratic Member Control; 3) Members’ Economic Participation; 4) Autono-


I


my and Independence; and, 5) Education, Training and Information.


This month, I’d like to share about the last two principles.


6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by work- ing together through local, regional and interna- tional structures.


The most outstanding example of this principle is our own Oklahoma Association of Electric Co- operatives (OAEC) “Mutual Aid” program in times following disastrous weather events—such as ice storms—that destroy mile after mile of infrastruc- ture. Co-ops in Oklahoma rally to each other’s side, sending crews and equipment to help their neigh- boring cooperative in such events. Offi cials at OAEC help coordinate this mutual aid


4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


America’s vast fl eet of power generators is made up of a variety of vintage plants fueled by a variety of energy sources. About 50 percent are coal fi red. Between the years of 1978 and 1987 coal was the dominant fuel source for new generation because the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978 prohibited the use of natural gas. Coal was encour- aged because it was plentiful and cheap. Who knew that 25 years later it would fall out of favor with the regulators? These coal-fi red plants are still in our fl eet and they are capable of producing power for many more years—but not without major expendi- tures on emission-control equipment. New environmental regulations are setting emis- sions standards that may not be achievable for some coal-fi red plants. For some, it will require very large investments. The technology and equipment to meet the proposed standards are very expensive and the proposed timeline for installing them is also very short—and that upsets the traditional pattern of investment.


As these unusually large investments are made to the existing fl eet of coal-fi red plants, you can expect your electric bills to go up—“how much” will de- pend on the fi nal rules. We continue to argue for a reasonable time frame for implementation in order to manage the impact on your bill. As this unfolds, be assured that your electric cooperatives are doing everything possible to deliver safe, reliable, and af- fordable power to you, the member. OL


Getting to know the seven cooperative principles—Part 3


plan, ensuring that each affected system receives the manpower and equipment that is needed, thus en- abling an expedient and safe restoration of service to an affl icted cooperative. Not only do our co-ops help each other locally, but we respond on a national basis, too. Oklahoma crews have gone to the aid of other cooperatives in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, and have assisted in several other states as well. We know how to help: it’s what we do. 7: Concern for Community


While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members. Several electric co-ops in Oklahoma have implemented the “Operation Roundup” program, which is a way to assist hundreds of people in com- munities all across the state. Simply by ‘rounding up’ an electric bill to the nearest dollar—pocket change, in other words—funds are established that lend a helping hand to scores of community out- reach programs in local co-op service areas. In addition to Operation Roundup, electric co- operatives have contributed thousands of dollars to rural fi re departments, enabling those agencies to purchase vital equipment to safeguard local com- munities. Local police and sheriff’s departments have been benefi ciaries of co-op outreach contribu- tions as well, with funds given for the purchase of such things as radios and protective vests. Each and every electric cooperative in Oklahoma, across the nation, and around the world shares a concern for the community that it serves. 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: 315,319 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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