REC Day on the Hill
Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives advocate for regulatory clarity during 2023 “REC Day on the Hill”
More than 200 employees and elected directors from Iowa’s locally owned rural electric cooperatives (RECs) convened at the Iowa Capitol on March 15 to advocate for important issues during the annual “REC Day on the Hill” event. “Our annual advocacy day at the capitol is a valuable opportunity to meet face-to-face with our elected officials and share a local perspective on issues that impact rural Iowa and rural economic development,” remarked Roger Solomonson, board president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC).
Specifically, advocates asked elected officials to support legislation that clarifies the authority and governance of local electric co-op boards. We believe locally elected co-op boards should have authority to set rates and fees for electric service. Member-consumers approving rates and fees that they themselves would pay is perhaps the most effective “check and balance” possible.
Additionally, co-op representatives discussed the dangers of electric service deregulation and how it would negatively impact rural Iowa businesses and communities. Service territory protections have been in place for more than 40 years in Iowa to ensure that citizens in sparsely populated areas have access to reliable and affordable power. In fact, electric cooperatives were formed in the 1930s and 40s because the investor-owned utilities at the time refused to serve unprofitable rural areas.
Advocates also educated legislators on the benefits of the cooperative business model, including local ownership, cost-based rates and democratic governance. Several electric cooperatives displayed booths in the rotunda which provided information on topics including economic development, electric vehicles, digital metering advancements, investments in technology, safety innovations, energy efficiency efforts and vegetation management work.
Learn more about the legislative priorities of Iowa’s electric cooperatives and Iowa Rural Power grassroots advocacy at www.iaruralpower.org.
state representatives & rec staff