More than 200 employees and directors, representing 36 of Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives (RECs), traveled to the Iowa State Capitol on March 20 to advocate for important issues during its annual “REC Day on the Hill” event. The cooperative advocates were briefed on state and federal legislative issues by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) before meeting with local legislators during a dessert social in the Capitol.
“This annual visit to the Iowa Capitol is an excellent opportunity to personally visit with our elected officials and provide them with a co-op perspective on issues that are important to rural Iowa and rural economic development,” remarked Steve Seidl, board president of IAEC.
Advocates educated legislators on the benefits of the cooperative business model, including local ownership, cost-based rates and democratic governance. Legislators also learned about three priorities important to Iowa’s electric cooperatives:
- Ensuring safety and reliability of service through vegetation management
- Supporting cost-effective energy efficiency programs for homes and farms
- Responsible power generation and delivery through fair treatment of all member-owners and utilization of advanced technology
Many electric cooperatives also displayed booths in the rotunda which provided information on topics including energy efficiency programs, rural broadband efforts, investments in technology and rural economic development. Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO) and its member distribution cooperatives were among those who advocated on behalf of their 31,000 members-owners living in western Iowa.