Electric Cooperative Members Campaign for Balanced Energy Legislation

Raleigh, N.C. —A cleaner environment is a laudable goal, and so is reliable and affordable electricity. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are urging consumers to open a dialogue with their elected officials in Washington, asking them to support a sensible energy policy that won’t result in exorbitant electric bills.

“There are proposals currently before Congress that would have a tremendously negative impact on the average household budget,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “We believe everyone should have access to affordable and reliable electricity.”

She said the state’s electric cooperatives are participating in a national campaign, Our Energy, Our Future, that asks consumers to contact their elected officials through a Web site, www.ourenergy.coop, and request they take a balanced approach to environmental legislation, including that addressing global climate change.

“Electricity drives our economy,” Hotchkiss said. “We support well-planned, responsible energy legislation but want to ensure that our already strained economy is not negatively affected by it.”

Any day now, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill and an amendment to that bill written by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Hotchkiss said, “This piece of legislation, as presented, and the accompanying amendment have the potential to deal a damaging blow not just to electric cooperative members, but to energy consumers across the nation, which could severely affect our nation’s economy and security.”

She continued, “It’s vital for consumers to have their say about this important issue. We believe it is possible to have a cleaner environment without emptying your wallets.”

Please visit www.ourenergy.coop and ask your elected officials to think about these three questions when considering proposed energy legislation:

  • Experts say that our nation’s growing electricity needs will soon go well beyond what renewables and efficiency can provide. What is your plan to make sure we have the electricity we’ll need in the future?
  • What are you doing to fully fund the research required to make emissions-free electric plants an affordable reality?
  • Balancing electricity needs and environmental goals will be difficult. How much is all this going to increase my electric bill and what will you do to make it affordable?

Hotchkiss said, “It has always been our mission to provide our members with reliable and affordable electricity, and by participating in the Our Energy, Our Future campaign, North Carolina’s 2.5 million electric cooperative members can help our elected officials find a responsible solution to America’s energy challenge.”

Visit www.ourenergy.coop to get involved in the Our Energy, Our Future campaign.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 of 100 counties, primarily in rural parts of the state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain 95,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.