In May, SEMO Electric Cooperative’s Carl Eftink, Dennis Fowler, Glen Cantrell and I joined other cooperative leaders from Missouri to take part in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The goal of the conference was to meet face-to-face with federal legislators and staff members to discuss various issues facing electric cooperatives and to ask for their support. We had about 10 meetings.
In each meeting, we explained how various issues impact cooperative members – your rates – and asked them to support legislation that would address the issues. The topics included the Ratepayer Protection Act, Waters of the United States, the Endangered Species Act, cybersecurity, coal ash regulations, broadband for rural America and the Clean Power Plan. These are big issues that could significantly impact rates in the future. And force us, as a co-op, to raise rates.
What I found encouraging in these meetings is the level of support that legislators and staff give us. They work hard to understand how the issues impact us. But beyond that, they are willing to do whatever they can to support us. They often sponsor or sign on to bills we ask them to. Or sometimes they write letters, encouraging a government agency to reconsider a position. But they don't do it because of a few people who came to meet with them. They do it because our group represented around 600,000 members – and voters – at the end of the line in Missouri.
Perhaps to summarize the trip, I heard someone say: “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu.” If we don’t stay active in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., we may not have a seat at the table to help protect our access to safe, reliable and affordable electricity for your home, farm and/or business. We need to do our part to keep lawmakers informed about rural Missouri. Learn more about the issues above at mocoopnation.org. Thank you for your support.
Several members have told us that their monthly bills are not arriving in their mailbox in a timely fashion. SEMO Electric hasn’t changed its process and bills are still due on the 10th of each month. It appears the post office has changed its sorting process. We have asked the post office for help and will continue to ask. In the meantime, please call us and request your balance due, click on gosemo.com and sign up for e-bill or stop by our offices in Bloomfield and Sikeston. We will reprint your billing statement for you. We appreciate your understanding.
Shout-outs to SEMO Electric member-owners Varetta Gant, Brenda Gant, Victoria Hastings, Charles Lutes, Scotty Lewis and Larry Cooper. Thanks to all member-owners and guests who attended SEMO's Annual Meeting.
Be smart. Act safe.