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Commentary ‘Time out’ on Clean Power Plan O


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


n August 3, 2015, President Obama and the U.S. Environ-


mental Protection Agen- cy (EPA) revealed a fi nal, revised version of what has become known as the “Clean Power Plan.” While the plan has been years in


the making, recent additions and changes were made in order to respond to constructive criti- cisms of the plan by both industry and consumer groups nationwide. We all know that Americans all depend on safe, affordable and reliable electricity to power their homes and businesses. But EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” threatens the affordable and dependable power our communities need. The Clean Power Plan is on shaky legal ground and could be overturned by the courts. For the 42 million Americans who get power from elec- tric co-ops, the rule likely means higher electric bills, job losses, and less reliable service. Electric co-ops have worked with the EPA over the last year to reduce the negative impacts of this rule. In fact, supporters of electric co-ops sent 1.2 mil-


lion comments to the EPA on the proposal. Now that the rule is fi nal, it will be debated in


the courts for years to come. Co-ops and other utilities will have to make big fi nancial decisions that will impact electric bills in the future if a “time out” is not provided.


Because of the tremendous number of legal uncertainties involved with EPA’s Clean Power Plan, we in Oklahoma join with our national trade association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), in asking the EPA and the president to stop the immediate im- plementation of these rules until all legal argu- ments have run their course. It’s the most prudent and consumer-protective thing to do. While Oklahomans may not be as negatively impacted with increases in electric rates as some surrounding states, the real impacts of this fi nal version of the Clean Power Plan cannot be truly known or understood until all legal challenges have been settled. We would simply ask that our congressional


delegation protect consumers by delaying the implementation of this rule until the courts have weighed in. Electric cooperative members could be better off with this “time out” request.


Customer vs. member: differences A


Kendall Beck President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


re you a mem- ber or a cus- tomer of your electric cooper-


ative? If you believe you are a customer, you may not be familiar with the cooperative difference—a unique attribute that sets cooperatives apart from


other business models. It’s a simple concept: co- operatives are comprised of people who willingly work together for a common purpose. Owned by those they serve and governed by a mem- ber-elected board, co-ops are grounded on a set of principles (to read the principles, visit: http:// www.oaec.coop/the_cooperative_difference/). You are likely a member-owner of your electric cooperative, your local power provider. There are other types of cooperatives whose services you may benefi t from such as credit unions and/or dairy farms. In addition, the news you consume each day could be produced from the Associated Press, a cooperative news service or you may en- joy drinking a cup of Sunkist juice, which is a cooperative of citrus growers. What is the difference between a customer and


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a member? A customer typically has an indiffer- ent relationship with a business. It’s cut and dry— the customer pays to receive a service and does not (nor is willing to) engage with the business. Being a member-owner is a different reality.


Membership comes with benefi ts and responsi- bilities. Electric cooperative members under- stand their co-op works on their behalf around the clock. Your electric cooperative team has a core mission, which is to deliver safe, reliable and affordable power to you, your family and your business. Co-ops go beyond by investing in their local communities through various outreach pro- grams. This magazine you’re holding in your hands, Oklahoma Living, is one benefi t of your co-op membership. Members have a voice in the affairs of their electric cooperative. Because co-ops care, they are not simply a power supplier; they are a trust- ed energy partner. Pioneers of rural electrifi cation remember when the lights came on. They iden- tify themselves as members. New generations of consumers are rediscovering the perks of being a co-op member. It is our hope you know you’re not a customer of your electric cooperative, but a valued member. As members, you will experi- ence the cooperative difference.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Chris Meyers, General Manager Kendall Beck, President


Gary McCune, Vice-President Scott Copeland, Secretary Larry Hicks, Treasurer


Staff


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


Anna Politano, Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Daniel Yates, Advertising Manager dyates@ok-living.coop


Kirbi Mills, Offi ce Manager kmills@oaec.coop


Hillary Barrow, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. hbarrow@oaec.coop


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


Taryn Sanderson, Editorial Intern intern@oaec.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154 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: 320,791


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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