Amplify your Voice through Voices for Cooperative Power


Steve Freese
President and CEO

The energy industry and energy policy are incredibly complex. Trying to make sense of it can be a full-time job. In the end, most Americans care about whether their lights come on when the switch is flipped and the cost of the power to make that happen. While reliability and affordability are at the forefront of most consumers’ minds, energy companies and regulators also want to make sure it’s all delivered to you safely.

Our electric cooperatives have delivered reliable, affordable, and safe electricity to rural consumer members for over 80 years. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges, especially now as we are witnessing one the most impactful and rapid energy transformations in American history. No matter what policy decisions are made in Washington, D.C., or Madison, they will affect you in how your energy is delivered and how much you will pay for it.

This is where we need your help. In partnership with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), our national trade group representing nearly 900 electric cooperatives throughout the country, WECA will utilize an advocacy tool called Voices for Cooperative Power! This tool will allow you, as consumer members, to better relay your concerns or tell your own stories to state and federal elected officials.

Voices for Cooperative Power (VCP) is a network of electric cooperative members like you who work together to influence energy decisions that will impact your local cooperative and your way of life. This effective online tool can connect you quickly with your elected officials or keep you up to date on major policy decisions that are being debated or implemented.

It’s very easy to be cynical in today’s political landscape, but it is undeniably true that the most important and influential voices to state and federal officials come from the people back home—their constituents. VCP allows you to efficiently amplify your voice on key energy issues that matter most to you. You can choose what issues you want to engage in. You can choose how much you want to get involved.

Why is this important, and why are we announcing it now? Electric cooperatives have a long history of being responsive to the needs of the communities they serve, but there are times when policy decisions jeopardize our cooperatives’ ability to operate under common-sense practices to best serve the members’ needs.

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For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency just published a new power plant rule that NRECA President Jim Matheson says is “unlawful, unachievable, and unrealistic.” As I mentioned in last month’s column, for the first time since its formation in 1968, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) last year identified energy policy as a risk priority for grid reliability. Yes, you read that correctly. Political/policy decisions by our elected leaders on energy issues are now listed as a risk to grid reliability.

See how this rule could impact Dairyland Power Cooperative’s ability, and other bulk power suppliers, to meet growing consumer energy demand in our feature story here.

Whatever issue you want to engage in—renewable energy, bulk power supply, energy efficiency programs, supply-chain timelines, grid reliability, broadband, rural economic development, etc.—VCP is your platform to communicate your questions, concerns, and opinions. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity by signing up and becoming more engaged on important energy issues that will ultimately impact your way of life and your pocketbook. Again, at the end of the day, if our state and national energy policy isn’t making your power more reliable, more affordable, or safer, then our leaders must hear from you—the consumer. But remember, you’re not just a consumer; you’re the elected official’s boss. Maybe it’s time to use VCP and remind them of that.