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ECI REC's Legislative Priorities
Electric cooperatives seldom ask for something from the Iowa legislature. We never ask for money. We spend most of our time monitoring legislation proposed by others. When a proposed bill adversely affects Iowa’s electric cooperatives, we work with the bill sponsor to change the legislation so that it does not harm the interests of our members.
Iowa’s electric cooperatives do hold dear certain principles that we are prepared to defend vigorously. The following are current issues we are watching closely:
Local Control: Electric cooperatives are owned by their member-consumers. These members elect a board of directors who hire a manager to oversee operations on a day-to-day basis. Each cooperative tailors its service to meet the needs of its members. We resist mandates from the federal or state governments that try to impose a “one size fits all” solution to a problem. We will defend the right to tailor our products and services to our own service territory.
Incentives, Not Mandates: Electric cooperatives have faith in the free market economic system that has served our country well. We oppose mandates such as government dictates that require a specific minimum amount of electricity be generated by wind or other renewable sources. We recognize the right of government to encourage certain practices or behaviors, but we believe that government should provide incentives for such practices.
Iowa Assigned Territory Law: Iowa has the strictest assigned territory law in the country. This law, passed in 1976, says that each electric or natural gas utility in the state of Iowa has a specific territory that it will serve exclusively. In some states, government laws or regulations allow utilities to “cherry pick” good, profitable load from a neighboring utility. In Iowa an electric cooperative can invest in its service territory knowing that another utility cannot steal a large electric load that makes that investment worthless. We invest in infrastructure to keep the lights on; we also provide economic incentives to encourage business to locate in our territory that will hire local workers.
Affordable, Reliable Electricity: The core of our mission is to provide our members with affordable, reliable electricity. Many factors can affect the price of electric power; things can affect our ability to build and maintain power plants that generate electricity. When legislation is proposed that affects the affordability and reliability of electricity, we make sucre our elected officials know that such legislation adversely affects their constituents and Iowans around the state.