Manager’s Message – April 2024

Legislative Update from Oregon’s Electric Cooperatives

Dear Co-op Members:

Oregon’s 2024 Legislative Assembly finished its short session early last month. While the electric utility industry was not the primary focus—housing and Measure 110 dominated the headlines—there were important discussions on critical issues affecting our ability to deliver affordable, reliable electricity to you. Many of these issues undoubtedly will see more attention in Oregon’s long session in 2025.

Our representatives at the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association used the short session to further conversations with legislators about the escalating wildfire risks exacerbated by a hotter, drier climate, and discussed how every Oregonian can do their part to mitigate these risks.

The complex issue of expanding transmission lines is getting renewed attention. While previous legislative sessions have focused on mandating carbon-free electricity, ORECA is at the table for important discussions about state policy regarding building new transmission lines to deliver this electricity. Transmission infrastructure expansion is necessary to increase access to new renewable energy generation and meet electricity demands throughout the state.

We also educated lawmakers about our concerns with the state of Oregon creating a pathway to breach the lower Snake River dams. Removing the dams would be detrimental to both your power rates and our ability to keep the lights on.

There was evidence these thorny issues could be resolved by compromise. In this session, Oregon electric cooperatives partnered with other utilities and rural counties to negotiate a solution (Senate Bill 1566) to a long-running issue regarding the cost counties incur when administering utility access to county rights-of-way. This compromise protects co-ops against unnecessary costs while being fair to their county partners.

We continue to use our voices with policymakers to protect our ability to be your trusted energy partner. Too much is at stake not to be at the table during a critical time in our industry.


Debi Wilson