It takes an extraordinary amount of
time, planning, expertise and effort to generate and deliver a complex
wonder, electricity, to your home or business minute by minute, hour by
hour, day by day, and to do so reliably, affordably, and in an
environmentally responsible way.
And yet, that’s exactly what your
electric cooperative has been doing in your community for three generations,
since just before the “Greatest Generation” embarked upon the greatest
crusade against tyranny in the history of our planet.
Electric cooperatives were formed by
local folks in almost a thousand communities across the country in the late
1930s and early ’40s to free rural men and women from back-breaking farm
labor. The fact that the electric co-ops’ wondrous electrons also lighted
and warmed their homes and preserved and cooked their food was viewed as a
So, to say that our definition today of
“basic electric needs” is broader and deeper than that of past
generations is like saying that Michael Phelps is just “a good swimmer.”
From plasma and LCD TVs to powerful computers to stunning sound systems to
cell phones, today’s consumers rely on electricity like drivers rely on
The recent rise in the cost of gasoline
and the various fuels that generate electricity has produced a parallel rise
in our national discussions about the importance of keeping the cost of
these critical commodities affordable to average Americans. No one should
have to choose between gasoline and groceries, or electric power and
And that’s why your electric
cooperative needs your help. Your local cooperative and the more than 900
others across the country are asking the 40 million Americans who receive
their electricity from a cooperative to take political action as soon as
possible, and as long as necessary to ensure that Congress protects your
This national campaign is dubbed, “Our
Energy, Our Future,” and its main thrust is to prompt and promote a
dialogue between electric cooperative consumers like you and the members of
Congress who represent you: your House of Representatives member, and your
two U.S. senators, John Warner and Jim Webb.
This campaign centers on having you ask
three questions of your house member and your two Senators. These three
questions are listed on a special Web site, www.ourenergy.coop. This Web
site enables you to e-mail these questions to your three congressional
representatives. It also contains other important information on the energy
challenges facing our nation, and how you can help.
We discussed the first question,
centering on the availability of sufficient power, in our July issue. We
focused on the second question, centering on the technology needed to meet
national climate-policy goals, in our August issue.
In this month’s issue, we focus on the
affordability of power.
The question we would like for you to
pose to your three members of Congress this month is:
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?
The challenges facing our nation’s
energy supply are daunting, and solving them will be difficult and
time-consuming. Increases in fuel costs; increases in the demand for power;
the difficulty of building needed generation units and transmission lines;
growing concerns about climate change; and the need to focus more effort on
conservation provide a complicated matrix of challenges. There is no single
“silver bullet” solution.
So, what to do? We must insist that
Congress focus on long-term planning, not just short-term fixes. We must
insist that they balance cost, reliability and environmental responsibility
in crafting legislation. We must insist that they create a comprehensive
energy plan that covers “soup to nuts,” and not just pass a series of a
la carte bills that end up costing us more and not addressing the real
needs. We must insist, above all, that they protect average consumers.
Please visit www.ourenergy.coop and pose
the question above to your members of Congress. Cooperatives were formed by
consumers to provide themselves with the power they needed to improve their
lives. Cooperatives are democratically run businesses, owned by their
consumers. And there’s no greater way to protect what is truly your
business than by taking part in the democratic process and making your voice
heard in the halls of Washington, D.C.
Please visit www.ourenergy.coop today!