Electric cooperative leaders sat down with Governor Roy Cooper for an initial meeting on June 19. The group discussed issues important to electric co-ops and the communities they serve.
“The governor was engaged and interested in learning about all the technical advances and cost-saving measures electric cooperatives are implementing,” said Dale Lambert, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation president and CEO of Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. “I thought it went very well.”
Topics discussed included:
- Co-op 101, including electric cooperatives’ impact across the state, serving 2.5 million people across 45 percent of North Carolina’s landmass;
- Energy and innovation, including an overview of our generation fuel mix, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), distributed generation, electric vehicle infrastructure and microgrid projects;
- Rural communications, including the need for broadband infrastructure in rural communities; and
- Economic development, including North Carolina’s electric cooperatives’ investment of more than $500 million in nearly 100 economic development projects since 2012, as well as leadership in the use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.
The meeting provided an opportunity for Gov. Cooper to ask questions about specific initiatives and begin a dialogue about how he can work with electric co-ops to help improve quality of life for their members. There was also an opportunity for a hands-on tech demonstration.
“I have an ecobee thermostat, and our co-op happened to be in load control during the meeting,” Lambert said. “I was able to pull up my app and show him the capabilities we have and how we’re really trying to contain costs without creating hardships for our members.”