Power Lines Blog

Golden Rule Applies to Public Servants

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It has now become necessary to remind the public that FERC commissioners, state public utility commissioners and local governing bodies that regulate utilities have demanding jobs and deserve our respect. To contribute constructively to the processes of these regulatory bodies, individuals need to follow a few simple rules. Focus on the issues rather than the person(s); engage in a serious and thoughtful exchange of views via the appropriate forums; and avoid physical, verbal or emotional violence. Demonizing or implicitly threatening a public servant should have no place in public discourse.

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Teeing Up for the Legislative Rally, Public Power Priorities

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The preservation of tax-exempt financing is the Association’s top legislative priority in 2017. We will actively engage on tax reform legislation, working to preserve the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, which are key for public power infrastructure development. We will emphasize this and other priorities as our members visit elected officials during our 2017 Legislative Rally.

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Back to Our Roots for a New Look

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I mentioned that the American Public Power Association was getting a new look — one which would not result from me dyeing my hair. That window of opportunity passed for me years ago — when I started to go gray and decided to just stay with the “natural look!” Going natural is what we’ve done with our new brand. We went back to our roots (pun intended) in the community.

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Sliding Home into the Holiday Season

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We have over 1,400 utility members, but each and every one is important to us, and we want to go into 2017 strong and unified. Tax reform promises to be high on the Congressional agenda come January, with the inevitable calls to repeal or weaken the tax-exempt status of bonds. I took this message on the road recently, speaking to the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and the Public Power Council in Portland. Thank you so much to all of public power for putting your trust in us through your membership. Enjoy the best this season has to give.

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Southern Swing

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Jim Matheson of NRECA and I discussed changes coming to electric utilities at a Tennessee Valley Authority forum. We also learned there about the customer research and distribution system modeling tools available to TVA local power companies from E Source and EPRI. After speaking at CEWD’s Summit back in Crystal City, where we learned about CEWD’s efforts to help utilities develop a diverse workforce, I traveled on to Georgia, to hear about MEAG Power’s nuclear initiatives in Georgia and meet with mayors and council members from public power communities.

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Back in the Cornhusker State

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I traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, for the annual meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District. NPPD’s Pat Pope made a point that I agree with — while traders thrive on market price volatility, which increases their profits, public power is in it for the long run and having a diversified portfolio of generation acts as a physical hedge against future price increases.

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