Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives advocate for power reliability during 2024 “REC Day on the Hill”

March 13, 2024

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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.

Also related to reliability, advocates talked with their legislators about Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) and the potential pitfalls of requiring Iowa utilities to file IRPs as part of contested case proceedings before the Iowa Utilities Board. IRPs will increase administrative and legal fees which must ultimately be paid by ratepayers. In other states, IRPs have served as a pathway to the premature closure of carbon-based power generation facilities which negatively impacts electric reliability.

Additionally, co-op representatives discussed the issue of “right of first refusal” which allows incumbent, established utilities to have the first option to construct, maintain and operate electric transmission projects. Iowa’s electric co-ops are best prepared to respond locally to weather-related outages because we have a proven track record of restoring power quickly and safely.

During the advocacy event, representatives educated legislators on the benefits of the not-for-profit cooperative business model, which includes local ownership, democratic governance and cost-based rates. Several electric cooperatives displayed booths in the rotunda which provided information on topics including economic development, digital metering advancements, investments in technology, safety innovations, energy efficiency efforts and vegetation management work.

Learn more about the legislative priorities of Iowa’s electric cooperatives and Iowa Rural Power grassroots advocacy at www.iaruralpower.org.

For More Information:

Erin Campbell
IAEC Director of Communications

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