Eversheds Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Minnesota Governor Vetoes Bill on Electric Cooperative Disputes

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that would have removed the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s authority to settle certain electric utility disputes between cooperatives and coop customers, including billing disputes regarding customer installation of renewable energy sources.  The bill was passed by the state senate last week and, if approved, would have vested dispute settlement authority in a third-party...
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Maine’s Swan’s Island Electric Cooperative to Dissolve

Swan’s Island Electric Cooperative members voted 265-29 in favor of dissolving one of the country’s smallest electric cooperatives.  The vote to sell their local utility to Emera Maine could close as early as March 31, 2017 and will effectively save the members $20 per month on their electricity bills but will sacrifice four full-time jobs and eight part-time jobs in a community heavily dependent on the fishing industry.
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Minnesota Governor to Review Bill on Electric Cooperative Disputes

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is set to review a bill that would remove authority from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission in handling complaints from electricity customers and give such authority to a third-party mediator.  Supporters of the legislation feel the cooperatives should have to go to St. Paul to defend its practices as the cooperatives boards are locally elected by its...
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Coop Solar Energy Capacity Continues to Grow

On March 9, 2017 the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association released new information concerning the total solar energy capacity of the United States electric cooperatives.  Specifically, coops are on pace to add 480 MW of solar energy in 2017, which would bring their total capacity to 873 MW.  For comparison, the total solar capacity was 180 MW in 2015 and merely 37 MW in 2010.  Much of the growth in solar can be attributed to collaboration among coops, as 42 percent of coop solar projects are joint...
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Tennessee Bill Allows Rural Cooperatives to Offer Video Services to Customers

In an important step to expand access to high-speed internet in rural Tennessee, the Broadband Accessibility Act has been amended to now allow cooperatives to have cable-like television offerings in areas many residents do not currently have broadband access.
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NRECA Supports Decision to Revisit WOTUS

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has issued a statement supporting the Trump Administration’s decision to revisit the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS).
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USDA Announces Loans to Coops

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $202 million in loans to coops to upgrade electric service in Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  These loans include $14.7 million for coops to implement Smart Grid technology.
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Cooperatives Strike Deal to Bring High-Speed Internet to Rural New Mexico

The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and Continental Divide Electric Cooperative recently struck a three year deal that will bring broadband services to Grants, New Mexico.  Grants is a rural town of about 9,200 people that previously lacked the infrastructure needed to support high-speed internet.  The cooperatives believe that bringing high-speed internet to rural areas such as Grants will increase business competition and continue the advancement of technology in rural...
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Swan’s Island Makes another Attempt to Merge with Emera Maine

After Maine regulators denied Swan’s Island Electric Coop (Swan’s Island) to merge with Emera Maine (Emera) because the merger would have put a disproportionate burden on Emera’s mainland customers, Swan’s Island has submitted a new merger proposal putting more of the financial burden of the merger on the island utility customers.  Regulators are schedule to review the revised plan on February 22.
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Anza Electric Receives California-Supported Loan for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Anza Electric Cooperative (Anza Electric) will be the first recipient of a state-sponsored loan for a charging station program started by the California State Treasurer and the California Energy Commission.  The program’s goal is to help make electric charging stations more accessible to assist California in reducing carbon pollution to its mandated 40 percent goal by 2030.  The program incentivizes businesses and multi-unit residential properties to install electric vehicle equipment with rebates and loan-loss...
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Dairyland Purchasing 80 MW of Wind Energy

Effective February 15, 2017 Dairyland Power Cooperative (Dairyland) will begin purchasing 80 MW of renewable energy from the Barton Wind Farm.  The 80 MW of renewable energy purchased by Dairyland is enough to power more than 19,000 homes.
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NY Provides $3 million for Coop Electric Vehicle Purchases

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York will provide $3 million in funding to help rural electricity cooperatives purchase electric vehicles to replace less fuel-efficient vehicles. Cooperatives that currently receive hydropower from the New York Power Authority are eligible to participate in this new program, which provides zero interest financing recovered over three years.
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NRECA Calls for Trump Administration Focus on Rural Issues

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was joined by 40 organizations in a letter to President Trump urging the new administration to focus on issues affecting rural families and businesses by designating a senior member of the White House staff as a rural advisor and/or creating a specific office within the administration with a direct focus on rural issues.
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Arizona Electric joins with ATC Development to Provide Transmission Services

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (Arizona Electric) has entered into a joint operating agreement with ATC Development Company (ATC Development), a Wisconsin-based utility, to develop transmission projects in the southwestern United States under a new transmission company “ATC Southwest.”  ATC Development’s expertise in transmission development combined with Arizona Electric’s relationships with energy providers throughout the southwest makes for a complementary...
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