Legislative advocacy is more than just lobbying—it means taking an active role in ensuring our cooperatives and the members we serve are protected in legislation and regulation. Through our collective efforts, we have championed the electric co-op business model and helped keep safe, affordable and reliable power flowing for more than 523,000 Oklahoma consumer-members.
Engagement is a key component of advocacy. Communicating with your members of Congress on important issues affecting your cooperative is a great way to keep your legislators informed. Recently, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives had the opportunity to enact grassroots efforts through House Bill 3835.
The bill, in its original language, had unfavorable implications for consumer-owners. The bill sought to require your electric cooperative to subsidize large corporate telecommunications companies by allowing them to dictate the payment and terms to attach their cables to your cooperative’s poles. We called on the membership for their help and 3,767 individuals sent messages to 91 elected officials, thus opening the door for cooperative leadership to negotiate on the membership’s behalf.
As a result, an amendment was filed and passed for HB 3835 including a compromise with proposals from Oklahoma’s electric co-ops, enabling your co-op to protect your investment and promote broadband expansion in Oklahoma.
Legislative efforts are never “one size fits all.” Co-op members have a unique perspective on energy policy, and the membership’s collective voice is a powerful tool in helping your cooperative leadership bring important issues to light. I encourage you to visit the Voices for Cooperative Power website so you can make your voice heard in conversations about energy policies that impact not only our co-op services, but the communities we call home.
By Chris Meyers
General Manager | Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives