Power Lines Blog

Deep in the heart of Texas public power

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July found me back in San Antonio (site of the Association’s Lineworkers Rodeo back in May) for the Annual Meeting of the Texas Public Power Association. TPPA is one of the state public power associations that do many of the same things for their member utilities at the state level that the American Public Power Association does at the federal level. TPPA lobbies, educates, and serves as a strong platform for collaboration.

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Tax reform: let’s keep up the fight for municipal bonds

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As the Administration pivots to tax reform, we are on high alert about maintaining the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. Bonds are the primary tool our public power utility members use to finance new infrastructure. Eliminating or undercutting the tax-exempt status of these bonds would increase our borrowing costs, and that will be reflected in electric rates. In effect, it is a regressive tax. Public power has the ability to bring local policymakers to the Hill to personally lobby on this issue. We need to be able to do that, and on short notice.

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Living the Wright Life in the Sonoran Desert

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It can be easy for CEOs to get so caught up in the day-to-day management issues that you forget the big issues or why you really do what you do. Having the chance to step back and see the larger picture — or even to see how a really creative mind can tackle design issues created by an austere desert environment — can recharge the brain and give you a fresh perspective.

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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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