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Commentary Changing ways we pay for the ‘Grid’ W


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


e live in a world full of electrical conveniences. Very few of us


know what it is like to live without electricity. I can’t imagine a life without lights, television, refrigerators, ice, cell phones and laptop com- puters–all of which are pow-


ered by electricity. We have become so dependent that we get irritated at the loss of power for even a few hours. And it’s not just personal convenience. Our entire economy depends on a reliable source of power to run computers, cash registers, machin- ery, and communications systems. Even our na- tional security depends on reliable electric service. The backbone of reliable electricity is the “grid,”


which ties it all together. Without it, no individual power plant, micro-grid, or even small individual solar panel or wind turbine is of practical use. All sources of power can and will be integrated to work together, but it is the grid that makes it possible. As our national electric system’s power supply becomes a little less dependent on central station power—and develops in a manner that


accommodates many small and distributed sources of power—the operation of the grid becomes more complex. The method in which the revenues are collected to cover the costs associated with main- taining the backbone of our power system grid also becomes more complex. The technology is here; smart metering, hourly pricing, and real-time mea- surement of power consumption make it possible to more accurately collect the correct amount from each consumer for their “share” of the grid. I applaud our State Legislature for passing SB


1456 (described in detail on Page 5), which recog- nizes the need to update the manner in which the grid is supported from a financial perspective. Oklahoma is rich in natural resources, both fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, and renewables like solar and wind. We should take full advantage of all of them and integrate them in a way that pro- tects the integrity of the grid and applies costs to the actual cost causers.


It’s an exciting time for those of us in the indus-


try. If all goes well, you will not notice the transi- tion in terms of reliability but you probably will —over time—notice the impact on your electric bill. It will be based much more on your actual day-to- day behaviors and electricity use patterns.


Electric co-ops develop young leaders T


Jimmy Taylor President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


he months of May and June are typi- cally ‘transforma- tional’ times of the


year in western Oklahoma. In non-drought years, wheat sown in the cool of late September or early October would be harvested during the heat of late May or early


June. Fields would then be plowed in hopeful an- ticipation of the next crop. May and June are also the times of year when


young students from all across the state gather to participate in two leadership development events hosted by your local electric cooperatives, and by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives’ staff. Each year, many local electric co-ops host eighth grade students at a four-day educational session called ‘YouthPower Energy Camp.’ From May 27 to May 30 this year, at least 91 young men and women learned much about teamwork, leadership, and about what makes cooperatives unique among electric utilities. The camp is held at Canyon Camp, located near Hinton, Okla. YouthPower Energy Camp kids are full of ‘ener- gy!’ Local co-op chaperones and OAEC staff teach


4 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


students about electrical safety, how electricity is generated, and how an electric distribution system works. These young leaders also elect a Board of Directors, set up their own co-op, and select a man- ager to run it during the camp. It’s a great experi- ence in leadership.


On Pages 6 and 7 of this issue, you’ll see photos


of 72 juniors in high school who were selected by local co-ops to attend a weeklong, government-in- action ‘Youth Tour’ trip to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., beginning June 13. This year, our national trade association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Youth Tour—a program initiated after then-Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, chal- lenged cooperative leaders to educate more young people about rural electrifi cation. This year’s Youth Tour participants come from small communities all across Oklahoma. Yet, it is from this group of young, ambitious, and forward- thinking students that our leaders of tomorrow will evolve. These two programs—YouthPower Energy Camp


and Youth Tour—are shining examples of how your electric cooperatives are helping develop the next crop of leaders that will power the needs of new generations.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers, General Manager Jimmy Taylor, President


Kendall Beck, Vice-President Gary McCune, Secretary Scott Copeland, 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 Mills, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kmills@oaec.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Harriet Orleans, Editorial Intern intern@oaec.coop


Alexis Mellons, Advertising Intern adintern@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


address 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 Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road,


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309. Circulation this issue: 316,905


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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