Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

NEWS RELEASES

July 1, 2024

After an extensive executive search, the Board of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) is pleased to announce Leslie Kaufman of Topeka, Kansas, as the association’s next executive vice president and general manager.

“Leslie is a visionary leader and seasoned executive,” said Kenny VandenBerg, IAEC board president. “She brings a unique combination of skills and experience to lead the association into a new era.”

Kaufman will start on July 29 as IAEC’s current EVP/GM Chuck Soderberg retires on August 1 after an impressive electric cooperative career spanning 45 years. “I am extremely honored by the confidence the Board has placed in me to continue advancing IAEC’s mission and vision,” remarked Kaufman.

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April 25, 2024

As part of our cooperative commitment to advocacy, Iowa’s electric cooperatives regularly coordinate meetings with state and federal legislators through the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC). The week of April 22, approximately 20 electric co-op representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., to talk with federal legislative staffers.

“Going to D.C. is a valuable opportunity for our Iowa Rural Power grassroots efforts to shine. Iowa’s electric cooperatives care deeply about the member-owners and communities we serve and it’s important to meet with legislative staff to discuss issues that affect our ability to provide reliable and affordable power,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president of IAEC.

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March 13, 2024

The sun was shining on more than 200 employees and elected directors from Iowa’s locally owned rural electric cooperatives (RECs) as they convened at the Iowa Capitol on March 12 to advocate for important issues during the annual “REC Day on the Hill” event.

“Our annual advocacy day at the capitol is a powerful opportunity to meet face-to-face with our state legislators and share a local perspective on issues that impact rural Iowans and rural economic development,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president and general manager for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC).

Advocates asked elected officials to ensure reliable electric service for Iowans by supporting an “all-of-the-above” electric generation strategy. Specifically, Iowa’s electric cooperatives believe it’s time to update the state’s 2001 advanced ratemaking principles (ARPs) to stipulate an all-of-the-above approach and include nuclear and energy storage technologies.

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December 11, 2023

The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC), the trade association for Iowa’s electric cooperatives, conducted its 2023 Annual Meeting at the Sheraton West Des Moines Conference Center on December 7 and 8 with more than 350 registered attendees. Board directors and employees from Iowa’s locally owned electric co-ops received informative updates from statewide board and staff in addition to learning about industry trends and best practices from invited speakers.

“Our theme of Powerful Connections explains one of the valuable services that a statewide association provides for its members,” remarked outgoing IAEC Board President Roger Solomonson of Heartland Power Cooperative. "For example, IAEC forms connections through lobbying efforts, our statewide magazine, social media, youth leaderships programs and training events for employees and directors of Iowa’s electric cooperatives.”

IAEC Executive Vice President and General Manager Chuck Soderberg covered several topics during his executive report including cybersecurity resources available to member co-ops and the importance of embracing an “all-of-the-above” power generation strategy to ensure reliability for member-consumers. This was Soderberg’s final annual meeting report as he plans to retire from IAEC in July 2024.

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October 7, 2023

The following guest column appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on October 7, 2023, in celebration of Iowa Co-op Month.

Dave Holm is executive director of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. Chuck Soderberg is executive vice president and general manager of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. Murray Williams is president and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League.

Iowa is known for its sprawling fields, tight-knit communities and a spirit of collaboration that has long been a hallmark of its success. While often associated with agriculture and its iconic cornfields, the state boasts a different kind of growth story — one driven by cooperatives.

Many Iowans associate cooperatives with agriculture; however, co-ops also include rural electric service, credit unions, rural telephone, farm credit, petroleum and more. Co-ops are organizations owned and democratically controlled by their members. In fact, nearly one out of every two Iowans is a member of a cooperative.

Agriculture is often intertwined with cooperative principles. From farm and grain supply cooperatives providing farmers with resources and equipment to cooperatives specializing in agribusiness and food production, co-ops empower farmers with collective bargaining power, access to essential resources and sustainable farming practices that ensure both economic viability and environmental stewardship.

Cooperatives also play a pivotal role in keeping rural communities vibrant and alive. Rural cooperatives extend essential services such as energy, financial services, connectivity and health care to regions that might otherwise be overlooked. Collectively, Iowa cooperatives pay more than $75 million in property taxes to Iowa communities each year.

 

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October 6, 2023

The following opinion was published in the October 6, 2023, edition of the Washington Times

Randy Feenstra represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Chuck Soderberg is executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Supply chain delays. Disorderly retirements of dispatchable electric generation. Complex regulations on power plant emissions. Regional warnings about a lack of generation capacity to cover electric demand. Permitting delays for needed electric transmission infrastructure.

Any one of these issues is enough to seriously affect the reliability of electric service. But all of these scenarios are playing out simultaneously across the nation, and a perfect storm may be on the horizon.

Electric reliability across America is in serious jeopardy, and it’s unacceptable.

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September 29, 2023

More than 25 representatives from Iowa’s electric cooperatives traveled to the Capitol earlier this week to advocate for their co-op members. While in Washington, D.C., the group attended high-level briefings on key issues impacting the electric industry and met with all six members of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation to discuss priorities and concerns.

Advocates shared concerns that could impact electric cooperatives’ ability to provide reliable and affordable power, including federal EPA mandates that may force electric generation plants to shut down prematurely. Additionally, the co-op representatives talked about continued supply chain challenges and how they impact day-to-day operations.

 “These legislative visits in D.C. are valuable opportunities to connect with our members of Congress and their staff. They learn more about our rural Iowa priorities and ask how they can help us in our cooperative mission to power lives and empower communities,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president and general manager of IAEC.

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September 21, 2023

Iowa’s locally owned and governed electric cooperatives contribute greatly to the state economy, according to a recent economic impact study produced by Goss & Associates. For the five years ending in 2021, the study found that Iowa electric co-ops generated a total impact on the state of $4.8 billion, produced $688 million in wages and salaries, directly supported 1,961 jobs, generated self-employment income of $79.5 million and paid $144.7 million in state and local taxes.

“This study confirms what we have long known; electric cooperatives contribute greatly to the state’s economic progress, especially throughout rural Iowa,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president and general manager of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC). “Powering lives and empowering communities are core to our cooperative mission.”

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September 7, 2023

Earlier this summer, the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Iowa sponsored their third annual Shine the Light contest to highlight our cooperative commitment to community. During the month of June, member-consumers and employees of Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives were invited to nominate volunteers in their communities who are working to improve quality of life.

We received 126 nominations from across the state, highlighting the work of many incredible Iowans. Three winners were chosen by our judges, and they each received a $2,500 donation to their local charity.

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June 26, 2023

38 high school students, sponsored by Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives, traveled to Washington, D.C., from June 17-23 for the 2023 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The Iowa students joined with hundreds of other student leaders from across the nation to learn more about cooperatives, American history and government. Iowa’s electric cooperatives were the first ones to send students to Washington, D.C., 65 years ago in 1958; over the decades, hundreds of Iowa student leaders have gained perspective about their role as an American citizen through this program.

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