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COM M E NTARY Can we afford to go fast with new regulations?


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n stock car racing they say,“Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?” It turns out to be true for us as well. According to a recent report by the Electric Power Research In- stitute (EPRI), a non- biased research orga- nization, if the EPA regulatory deadlines currently proposed


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were simply extended for two years it would save consumers 100 billion dollars between now and 2035. The delay would not hinder achieving the same environmental results over that time period according to EPRI.


Sometimes we—who call for a slower and more manageable timeline—are accused of being a part of the “just say no” crowd. That’s not the case at all. We simply disagree with the current approach, which shows little regard for economic and reliabil- ity impacts.


Most new regulations are aimed directly at coal- fired plants. Because coal is the fuel source for roughly 50 percent of the nation’s electric genera- tion plants today, it’s a huge challenge to meet these


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Glenn Propps President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n Page 14 of this edition of Okla- homa Living maga- zine, readers will learn about one of the many hazards that can wreak havoc upon Okla- homa’s citizens, both rural and urban alike: wildfi res. Wildfi res are just one of many disasters we face here in our state; others include the all-too-famil-


proposed EPA compliance deadlines. Why is delaying implementation by two years so much cheaper? It’s a matter of supply and demand. When so many power plants across the country are trying to meet very strict compliance rules in a very short time, the demand for equipment and engi- neering expertise far exceeds supply. Therefore, the cost for those limited resources increases dramati- cally. Two additional years to comply would take a lot of that pressure off.


The EPRI report supports the point that electric cooperatives are making on the issue of affordabil- ity. I believe that if the public fully understood the costs associated with going fast, they would be in favor of taking a path forward that reaches the goal in a manner they can afford.


We can have both affordable energy and a clean environment but we must remain mindful of the impact our approach has on consumers. We must choose a path forward that doesn’t unnecessarily harm those who can least afford it. Someone must speak up for those already facing challenges in meeting their monthly budgets.


As electric cooperatives, we look out for our mem- bers and we speak up every day for a balanced ap- proach forward. I support taking a little more time on the front end to save 100 billion dollars – es- pecially when the end result is the same. We can’t afford this kind of speed. OL


When disaster strikes, OEM is ready to assist major disasters.


According to Gary McManus, associate state cli- matologist at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, our state has experienced the most major disaster declara- tions of any state over the last 13 years—a total of 33 since the year 2000.


McManus points out the designation of a ‘major disaster’ does not include other calamitous events, such as Emergency Declarations, Fire Management Assistance Declarations, or agricultural drought- related disaster declarations.


But whether the disastrous event affects six citi-


iar tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, fl ooding, high winds, blizzards, ice storms—even a tropical storm or two has been known to linger over us here! Yes, Oklahoma is almost like a mixing bowl for environmental hazards and extreme weather. But do you know who is always ready to provide assis- tance following these and other disasters, 24 hours a day, seven days per week, all year long? If your fi rst guess was a local electric cooperative lineman, you’d be partially correct. They, too, are always quick to respond to electric system outages caused by natural disasters.


However, the ‘heroes’ I have in mind are the disas- ter experts at Oklahoma Emergency Management (OEM). Led by their director, Albert Ashwood, this group of more than 20 full-time professionals pro- vides both leadership and guidance in delivering emergency assistance all across the state following


4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


zens—such as might occur in a wildfi re—or 641,000 —as were affected by the December 2007 ice storm that left homes and businesses without electricity for more than a week—offi cials with OEM are al- ways among the very fi rst to respond. On May 24, 2011, my cooperative—Caddo Electric in Binger, Okla.—was impacted by a large tornado that hit near Calumet, Okla. An entire substation belonging to Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and Caddo Electric was destroyed, affecting thou- sands of our members.


OEM assisted our cooperative in the days and weeks following that event, providing guidance and expertise that led to a major disaster declaration. Prompt, professional, and proficient. These words accurately describe those who work in the trenches at OEM. We can’t thank them enough for their invaluable assistance. OL


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . General Manager Glenn Propps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .President Joe Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-President Jimmy Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 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: 316,247 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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