Membership Matters ~ Our Members are our Strength

What does it mean to be a member-owner of an electric cooperative?

One key feature is that all members have an equal vote in determining the governance of the cooperative. Those who serve as your cooperative Directors are elected from and by their fellow cooperative members in the Districts in which they reside. This member-control keeps Arrowhead Electric service driven.

Electric cooperatives have another important differentiation from other forms of utilities – they operate on a not-for-profit business model. Any margins, or what other businesses would call profit, are returned to the co-op members-owners through the retirement of Capital Credits.

Governance by the membership, a focus on service instead of profit, and sharing in the benefits of ownership-these all point to another distinctive feature of cooperative utilities, that being INVOLVEMENT by those who use the co-op’s services.

Member involvement with Arrowhead Electric can take many forms. Reading our monthly newsletter is a form of involvement, as is attending our Open House, or participating in Area and Annual meetings. However, it’s your political involvement that is critical at this time.

MEMBERS, TAKE ACTION!

For the past several months we have been telling you how pending national legislation regarding climate change must be fair, affordable and achievable. We know that legislation is coming. What the nation’s electric cooperatives are pushing for is legislation that considers these three important objectives. We’ve been getting that message out to our lawmakers through the Our Energy, Our Future campaign. This internet and postcard campaign has made an impact and I thank all AECI members who have joined in this important effort. At last count, Minnesotans sent 11,693 postcards to Capitol Hill, 5,826 addressed to Senator Amy Klobuchar and 5,867 to Senator Al Franken. The campaign’s nationwide response flooded Capitol Hill with about a half million postcards urging lawmakers to increase the share of credits doled out to smaller power companies whose plants are fueled by coal. That’s certainly a number that will get noticed. However, the fight is not over! If you have not yet joined the Our Energy, Our Future campaign, please do so today!

WE NEED OUR MEMBERS TO EXERCISE THEIR VOICES AND BE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE!!

What’s at stake? Plenty! Collectively, the climate change legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June could cost $566 billion, or 0.3% of gross domestic product between 2012 and 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Bottom line, the proposals currently being entertained for climate change legislation will cause Americans to lose jobs, create high electric rates that will cripple local economies, and will shift greenhouse gas emissions overseas essentially negating potential environmental benefits.

The issue is now in the Senate. It is inevitable that some form of climate change legislation will be passed in the near future. If not by Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will step in to enact regulations under the Clear Air Act. Action by the EPA would likely result in more arbitrary, more expensive, and more uncertain impacts on the cost of producing electricity. For many utilities they rely on coal, including Great River Energy that generates and transmits electricity to Arrowhead Electric placing this control in the hands of the EPA would bring about less favorable results that dealing with climate change in the Senate. We urge all Arrowhead Electric members to tell their Senators to pass comprehensive, well-crafted legislation that can be achieved and keeps fairness and affordability for consumers in mind.

Have you joined the Our Energy, Our Future campaign? Log on to www.OurEnergy.coop or stop in our office and fill out a pre-printed campaign postcards and letters.

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