Engaging with Elected Officials
Over the past several months, JOEMC has been involved with the legislative process, engaging with our elected officials on both the state and federal levels. Even though I say “over the last several months,” this is an ongoing process as we continually engage with our representatives through meetings and one-on-one discussions throughout the year.
Building close, working relationships with our elected officials is crucial to our continued mission to provide safe, reliable, and affordable power to you, our members. Laws and regulations passed in Raleigh and Washington can significantly impact the co-op’s cost of doing business and the cost of providing electricity to your home or business.
Our message to representatives is simple: we must all work together to protect safe, reliable, affordable electric service. Communicating this message allows us to provide input and feedback on proposed legislation. This input allows us to help our legislators make informed decisions and craft laws that address your needs and concerns.
So, what exactly are the messages we’re discussing this year? On the state level, electric co-ops have centered our talks around increased penalties for attacks on critical infrastructure, continued economic development across North Carolina, protecting our state’s energy portfolio, and funding to continue innovation in the electric utility industry. We also emphasized the continued need to expand access to rural broadband funding and support our local telecommunications cooperatives in their mission to expand broadband into our communities.
On the federal level, the focus of discussions has primarily been on the significant impact that our representatives’ decisions and potential legislation can have on the reliability of the electric service we provide to our members. While we fully support the transition to net-zero carbon emissions, an essential goal for our country, we must also be mindful of the pace at which we are required to achieve it. There is a growing disconnect between the mandated retirement of generation resources and the availability and reliability of the resources that are required to be added to the grid. As our dependence on electricity continues to increase in our economy, we must consider the capacity and uptime of the resources we rely on to power our economy full-time. This topic encompasses solar and other renewable resources and the ability to quickly and cost-effectively construct constant and reliable generation resources like small modular nuclear and natural gas.
Thank you to our U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Ted Budd, U.S. House of Representative Dr. Greg Murphy, N.C. State Senators Mike Lazzara and Brent Jackson and N.C. State House Representatives George Cleveland, Phil Shepard, Jimmy Dixon, Chris Humphrey, and Carson Smith, as well as each of their staff, for taking the time to hear our thoughts on issues important to our members. We appreciate their work to help protect the service we provide to you, our members, and their constituents.