VA, MD and DE statewide association president Jack Reasor (right) accepts the Paul Revere Award from NRECA Board president Michael Guidry. (Photo credit: Mike Lynch)
San Diego, CA.; March 5, 2012 —The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today awarded the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives with its Paul Revere Award. NRECA recognized the statewide association for its ability to mobilize its cooperative consumer-owners on behalf of the electric cooperative industry.
During the 2011 session of the Virginia General Assembly Virginia's electric cooperatives faced a major challenge when large, multi-state cable companies asked for legislation to limit the fees that Virginia's co-ops could charge for attachments to co-op electric poles. The proposed pole attachment legislation would have prohibited a co-op from recovering the costs of for cable company use of its infrastructure, causing co-op consumer-members to foot the bill in rate increases.
"When faced with pole attachment legislation that would cost co-op consumers, the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware statewide association went to work, under the leadership of President and CEO Jack Reasor. The association launched a grassroots effort to educate, engage and activate Virginia co-op members about the legislation. The campaign helped Virginia's electric co-ops successfully prevent a precedent that would have undermined electric cooperative efforts to combat similar pole attachment legislation in other states," said NRECA CEO Glenn English.
As part of the successful campaign to educate consumers and legislators, the statewide association organized the Cable Wins, You Lose website, coordinated an extensive print and digital campaign in co-op publications, and promoted the effort through print and digital media as well as radio.
In addition, the statewide organized a Legislative Day of Action in which 150 key leaders representing all 13 Virginia cooperatives met with the office of nearly every Virginia state legislator. The association also worked with the NRECA grassroots team to develop an email advocacy tool enabling consumer-owners to contact their state legislators.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation's more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.
More than 8,000 representatives from cooperative electric utilities across the nation are attending the NRECA Annual Meeting March 4-7 in San Diego, Calif., during which they will set NRECA's legislative and organizational agenda for 2012. In addition to considering and acting upon policy resolutions, delegates receive reports from NRECA officials, hear addresses by key public figures and business experts, and attend educational forums on major issues affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer owners.