Dear Lane Electric Community:
I am excited to announce that we’re starting a Community Solar Garden for the Lane Electric community! You’ll find details on pages 4-5 along with an invitation for you to subscribe to the garden and receive a portion of the kilowatt-hours harvest for years to come. Reserve your “garden plot” output today because the harvest begins this summer!
Also in this month’s Ruralite on pages 28-29 is a second invitation for you. It’s an invitation for you to be a part of Lane Electric’s grassroots political network. Lane Electric keeps track of proposed laws that could impact how we provide you electric service and how much it costs to provide you service. We’re looking out for the best in interest of the Cooperative—all of us together.
I work in coordination with our statewide association to reach out to your elected representatives in the Oregon Legislature and Congress on bills that affect Lane Electric and share with them how a proposed law would affect Lane Electric. For example, a bill in the Oregon House of Representatives proposed to prevent disconnections during winter months. The intent behind the bill was to help those in need, but Lane Electric is already there helping our members in need.
Lane Electric is already there working with each member individually who calls in having trouble paying their bill. Lane Electric is already there for our members whether it’s a payment plan, assistance from our member assistance program (MAP), or the option to become a pre-pay member who can buy as much or little energy as fits your budget. If anything, the bill would restrict the options we have to help our members.
Oregon’s co-ops testified against the bill and we needed more—we needed members’ voices. Mid-State Electric Cooperative in La Pine activated its grassroots advocates and got the added attention of state lawmakers. As of the time of me writing this column in mid-April, the bill has had a major overhaul to respect Oregon co-ops interests.
You may already be a part of our Power of Community program in collaboration with the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association. If so, thank you for your voice! In the near future, Lane Electric will once again invite all members to become a grassroots advocate for Oregon’s electric co-ops. Together we can tell the story to lawmakers of how your co-op serves its members.