Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund Announced With Initial $10 Billion in Available Capital

The White House Rural Council announced today at the Rural Opportunity Investment Conference the creation of the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund (Fund), an investment fund intended to promote rural economic development.  CoBank, ACB, a cooperative bank serving agribusiness, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, has committed to invest $10 billion.  Additional investors will be recruited by the Fund’s manager, Capitol Peak Asset Management.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies will help to identify...
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Florida Coop Dispute Rages On

Lee County Electric Cooperative has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to take up its dispute with the city of Cape Coral, Florida regarding costs associated with moving utility lines and power poles for road projects.  Please click here to read more about this story.
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Texas Coop to Retire $4 Million in Capital Credits

South Plains Electric Cooperative (SPEC) announced that it has approved a capital credits refund of $4 million to its members.  To date SPEC has returned more than $28 million to its customer-members.  To read more, please click here.
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South Dakota PUC Rules in Favor of Basin Electric in Wind Power Case

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ruled unanimously to dismiss a claim against Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) and five distribution cooperatives brought by Prelude, a wind developer that was attempting to force the cooperatives to purchase power it plans to produce.  Prelude’s counsel attempted to argue that Basin Electric is not a cooperative under South Dakota law, but the PUC disagreed and stated that it did not have jurisdiction. To read more, please click...
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NRECA Joins Shippers in Calling on Congress to Act on Rail Reform

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is part of a coalition of shippers that renewed a year-long call for Congress to take action to reform the country’s freight rail system.  The coalition, which consists of 24 trade organizations, sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining a series of reforms meant to increase competition and lessen regulatory hurdles for shippers.  The groups cited “[u]nreasonable rate increases, service breakdowns, and diminishing competition” as some of the problems caused by the rail industry.  Click here to read more about this...
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Concerns Raised Over EPA Proposal for Upgraded Pollution Controls at Utah Coal Power Plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a requirement that Deseret Power Electric Cooperative install upgraded pollution controls at its Bonanza Power Plant in Utah.  A group of residents, businesses and community groups have raised concerns that the plant may be shut down if upgraded pollution controls are required.  Any shutdown would have a significant impact on employment near the plant.  Click here to read more about this developing story.
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Electric Coops Continue to Outperform other Electric Utility Sectors

Overall the electric utility industry has seen a fall in demand and sales over the past five years.  However, electric cooperatives have been outperforming other electric utility sectors, with median kilowatt-hour sales up by 3.13 percent in 2013.  To read more, please click here.
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USDA to Fund Electric System Improvements in Rural Areas

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will invest more than $250 million in loan proceeds to help improve the reliability of electric systems in rural areas in eight states.  A portion of the funds will be used to modernize the systems with smart grid improvements.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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New Mexico Coop Still Under Fire for Wildfire

More ranchers, this time from fly-fishing destination Cow Creek Ranch, have sued the Mora-San Miguel Electrical Cooperative (Mora-San Miguel) in state court over a 2013 wildfire.  The owners of two other Pecos Canyon ranches sued Mora-San Miguel over the same fire in March of this year.  The Washington Times has the full story.
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Alaska Coop to Update Coal Plant

Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a Fairbanks-based electric cooperative, has begun the process of updating the 50-MW Healy Unit 2, which was originally completed in 1999 as a U.S. Department of Energy Clean Coal Technology demonstration project.  GVEA has purchased the unit from Alaska, and over the next two years will upgrade the electrical and coal handling systems and equipment at the plant.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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House Funding Bill to Block Proposed EPA Regulations

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations released its interior and environment funding bill for fiscal year 2015 that would cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget by $717 million from fiscal year 2014.  The proposed bill would also stop EPA from enacting or enforcing its controversial proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions for new and existing power plants.  To read more, please click here.
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North Carolina Coops Repair Hurricane Arthur Damage

North Carolina electric cooperatives spent much of the holiday weekend working to restore power to members in the wake of Hurricane Arthur.  Parts of the central North Carolina coastline and barrier islands were hit by 100 mph winds late July 3, and efforts to respond to outages have ranged from using a peaking plant located on Ocracoke Island to provide intermittent power to residents and guests for two out of every six hours, to delivering materials necessary for repairs by helicopter.  Click here for...
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Texas Coop to Refund Capital Credits

The Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, which serves members in 13 Texas counties east of San Antonio and south of Austin, will return $3 million in capital credits to its members this month.  Click here for more.
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Coops Increase Power Sales in 2013

Median kilowatt-hour sales by electric cooperatives grew by 3.13 percent in 2013, reversing a recent trend of declining power sales.  This figure shows that electric cooperatives continue to be the fastest-growing segment of the retail electric industry; retail kilowatt-hour sales for the entire industry decreased by 0.1 percent in 2013.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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