Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Arkansas G&T Adds Wind to Portfolio

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation has announced a long-term, sole-recipient agreement with the planned Drift Sand Wind Farm.  This 108 megawatt facility is expected to begin commercial operation by December 31, 2016.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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Fitch Ratings Study Finds that Cooperatives Must Adapt to Maintain Stable Credit Quality

A recent report by Fitch Ratings found that electrical cooperatives today face challenges created by changing technologies, slowing growth and changing consumer usage patterns.  These challenges will require that cooperatives find ways to adapt if they want to maintain strong credit quality in the A to AA range. For example, one adaptation made by many cooperatives has been to decouple their revenue from customer usage and move to a flat rate model.  Click here to read...
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Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Receives Top UTC Award

The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) has awarded Kit Carson Electric Cooperative its highest honor, the 2015 Utilities Telecom & Technology APEX Award. Click here for more information.
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USDA Announces $100 million in Loans for Rural Electric Coop Utilities

Today the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $106.3 million in electric system infrastructure loans to rural electric cooperative utilities in four states.  The loans include $9 million for smart grid improvements.  The announcement comes during the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration.  Click here for more information.
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Alaska Coop Becomes “Self-Generating”

Palmer, Alaska-based Matanuska Electric Association became “self-generating” on May 1 when its new 171-megawatt, gas-fired Eklutna Generating Station came online. Click here for more information.
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Indiana Levels the Playing Field for Electric Utilities

Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed Indiana’s electric service territory legislation. The legislation, which goes into effect later this month, will stop municipal electric utilities from seizing territory from both electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities.  Before now, municipal electric utilities had the power to expand by seizing territory from other utilities, provided that they compensate the utility for the lost territory.  Unfortunately, however, compensation paid was below market value and ended after five years.  This policy resulted in municipal electric...
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Energy Information Administration Predicts Slowing Demand and Rising Prices for Electricity

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts U.S. demand for electricity to slow because of new energy-efficiency standards and costs to increase because new regulations will require additional equipment to replace retired power plants, leading to a predicted 18 percent increase in the average cost of electricity between 2013 and 2040.  Read more about the EIA forecast here.
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Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Cooperatives’ Acquisition of Interstate Power & Light

On April 30, 2015 the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved the sale of Interstate Power & Light (IPL), a privately-owned utility, to 12 cooperative utilities for $112 million.  Most of the coops have higher electric rates than IPL, so the acquisition will mean higher prices for the 43,000 IPL customers, but the MPUC will monitor a plan that bars any increase in former IPL customers’ basic rates for three years and limits increases for two additional years. Read more about the sale here.
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NERC Study Finds EPA’s Clean Power Plan Unworkable

A recent North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) study finds that the Clean Power Plan of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would require that electric cooperatives shut down approximately 21 percent of their coal generation by 2025.  The study also found that the generation and transmission projects necessary to fill the void left by coal generation would not be completed until 2031 at the earliest. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jo Ann Emerson stated that the deadlines are therefore “not workable.”  Click here to read...
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Electric Cooperatives Top List of Solar Producers for 2014

Two EMCs, Pickwick Electric Cooperative of Tennessee and Farmers Electric Cooperative of Iowa, were the top two producers of solar energy in 2014 based on the number of solar watts produced per customer.  While California is still home to the top overall producers of solar power, with Pacific Gas and Electric producing the most solar power overall in 2014, the solar market is beginning to expand to the rest of the U.S.  Click here to read more.
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North Dakota PSC Approves Permits for Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Infrastructure Projects

On April 29 the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) approved permits for three infrastructure projects. Those projects undertaken by Basin Electric Power Cooperative will cost a combined $445 million.  They involve expansion of two gas powered power stations, as well as a new transmission line.  According to Randy Christmann, Commissioner of the North Dakota PSC, the projects are necessary to meet North Dakota’s electric needs.  Click here to read more.
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Kentucky Public Service Commission Approves Methane Project

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has recently approved a new methane project at the Glasgow Regional Landfill (Landfill). The project, owned by the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), will generate electricity by capturing methane gas escaping from the Landfill.  EKPC hopes that the project will be operational by late September or early October.  Click here to read more.
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Congressional Legislation Preserves Large Water Heater Use

As we have previously noted, the Department of Energy implemented regulations on April 16 to ban the manufacture of large water heaters that can be controlled by smart meter technology.  To prevent adverse effects of these regulations on electric cooperatives, Congress passed legislation on April 21 enabling cooperatives to continue to use large capacity grid-enabled water heaters for energy and money-saving programs.  To read more please click here.
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USDA Announces Funding for Infrastructure Projects

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $72 million in funding for six electric infrastructure projects, including several projects being developed by rural electric cooperatives.  The projects include a transmission project in Kansas being developed by Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative, transmission and other system improvements by Broad River Electric Cooperative in North Carolina and South Carolina, and transmission improvements by Washington Electric Cooperative in Vermont.  To read more about the USDA’s announcement, please click...
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