Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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NRECA Argues Against CEQ Greenhouse Gas Proposal

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) commented Tuesday on draft guidance submitted by the Whitehouse Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The draft guidance would require agencies to consider the effect of a proposed action on climate change.  NRECA argued that the proposed guidance would complicate compliance with the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  Please click here to read more. (subscription...
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EPA Proposes Costly New Water Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new water regulations which would increase costs and require extensive permitting for power line construction and maintenance.  At a hearing on the proposed rules, Russ Biggica of the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association warned Congress that the rules would drive up costs for cooperatives, including the cost of renewable energy projects, but would result in little to no benefit for the nation’s waters.  Please click here to read...
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Reduction in South Dakota Coop Taxes Vetoed

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed a bill that would have slightly reduced electric cooperatives’ taxes by rolling back a recent administrative decision on how state tax for electric cooperatives is determined and excluding municipal taxes from calculations of state tax liability. Click here for more.
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Renewables Top Fossil Fuels in Generation Growth

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Electric Power Monthly report, in 2014 increases in wind and solar generation outpaced traditional fossil fuel generation growth.  Net generation of wind increased roughly 14 million MW hours and net generation of commercial-scale solar grew by approximately 9 million MW hours.  To read more about this story,  please click here.
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Legal Alert: Power Surge: TCPA Litigation and the Energy Industry

Few industries have been spared from the recent wave of class actions filed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The energy sector is no exception. TCPA cases against electricity and natural gas providers are on the rise with more than half a dozen such cases filed in 2015 in federal courts in Texas, New York, Ohio, Florida, California, and other states, in addition to cases already pending. These cases focus principally on companies’ use of automated communications to market their services to potential customers or to collect delinquent accounts. To view the full legal...
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G&T Cooperative Adds Solar Production Facilities

Illinois G&T Prairie Power has announced plans to construct two new solar power facilities. Jay Bartlett, CEO of Prairie Power, stated that the G&T is building the facilities in response to its members’ interest in renewable energy sources. Once completed, all of its nearly 80,000 members will be able to sign up to purchase power from the solar projects. Please click here to read more.
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Natural Gas Production Takes the Edge off of Winter Electric Rates

Despite the fact that this winter has produced record cold temperatures across the country, the average price of residential electricity is projected to increase only 1 percent in 2015 compared to 3.1 percent in 2014. The slow-down in electricity cost inflation is due to an increase in natural gas production. Please click here to read more.
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Survey Report: Less Concern of Distributed Generation in Utility Industry

According to media startup Utility Dive’s State of the Electric Utility 2015 Survey Report, many utilities have begun to see distributed generation as a growth opportunity rather than a disruption.  According to the report, 88 percent of respondents now view distributed generation as an opportunity, although 63 percent of those are not sure how to build their business around the concept.  Click here for access to the report.
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Natural Gas Infrastructure Threatens ISO New England Reliability

ISO New England has stated that insufficient pipeline capacity and liquefied natural gas storage capacity may affect reliability, price and emissions.  Natural gas accounted for about 44 percent of net energy in New England in 2014.  Click here for more.
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Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds Strict Interpretation of State’s “Buy the Farm” Law

Great River Energy will be required to purchase 218.85 acres of land on which it will construct transmission lines, rather than the 8.86 acre strip it wished to purchase, a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision held.  The decision was based on the state’s “Buy the Farm” statue, which requires utility companies to buy out property owners upon request when building power lines.  Click here to read more (subscription...
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Electric Cooperative Seeks to Reduce Credits Paid to Customers with Rooftop Solar Systems

“Net metering” is the process by which electric suppliers pay credits to customers with home photovoltaic systems that generate more power than the customer uses. An Arizona EMC, Trico Electric Cooperative, has asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve its proposal to lower the amount of these credits from 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour to 3.7 cents. Trico believes that the change is necessary to help it recover its fixed costs.  Click here to read...
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Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Regional Haze Plan Approved by EPA

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) has become the first Arizona utility to settle out of court with the US Environmental Protection agency (EPA) regarding EPA’s regional haze rules.  AEPCO presented an alternative plan than the one initially required by EPA’s original rule, and the approved plan will come at less cost to AEPCO’s members.  To read more please click here.
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Department of Energy and NRECA Name 2014 Wind Coops of the Year

The Energy Department and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) named the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association  and San Isabel Electric Association of Colorado as the 2014 Wind Cooperatives of the Year.  For more information on the significant contributions these coops made to the wind energy industry, see the Energy Department’s press release.
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Cooperative Bank Makes Large Donation to the NRECA International Foundation

CoBank, a national cooperative bank, recently donated $250,000 to the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA) International Foundation.  The donation made by CoBank will support the Foundation’s mission of providing electrification to some of the world’s poorest regions.  Click here to read more.
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