MREA Annual Meeting // CEO Column March 2023

Daniel Carlisle // President/CEO & General Counsel

I had the opportunity to attend Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s (MREA) Annual Meeting in St. Paul this February. Joining me were several of Todd-Wadena’s directors (Miles Kuschel, Tom Brichacek, and Kristine Spadgenske) and TWEC Member and Energy Services Manager Allison Frederickson. This is always time well spent as we get to meet one-on-one with our local legislators. The meeting provides an opportunity to discuss topics and issues that are close to home and important to our members.

We met with Senator Jordan Rasmusson (District 9), Senator Paul Utke (District 5), Representative Mike Wiener (District 5B), and Senator Torrey Westrom (District 12) to discuss the following topics.

Defend Rural Electrification Property Tax Exemption
Since 1939, the Department of Revenue has excluded cooperative owned rural meters and streetlights from a rural electrification property tax exemption. This property tax exemption is critical for ensuring rural Minnesotans continue to receive affordable electric service.

Exempt Replacement of Co-op/Muni Load Control Receivers from Unnecessary State Requirements
The replacement of load control receiver (LCR) equipment should not have to be inspected and permitted while upgrading it to modernize cooperative electric grids and facilitate energy efficiency programs as part of the energy transition.

Support State Matching Funds and Technical Assistance to Unlock Federal Infrastructure Funding
MREA, along with other organizations (MMUA, Minnesota Power, LIUNA Labors Union, etc.), support an appropriation for state matching funds that would help unlock federal funding for grid reliability, public EV charging, and other projects through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It is important that rural Minnesota receives its fair share of this funding.

Defend Regulatory Compact Against Third-Party Encroachment
We oppose any third-party encroachment on the exclusivity of co-op service territories because that encroachment unravels the regulatory compact, encourages cherry-picking of co-op members by third parties, increases rates to the remaining customers, and undermines the ability of co-ops to make the investments necessary to provide reliable and affordable service to our members.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s staff and board work hard to stay informed and create good rapport with our legislators in this fast-paced industry to try and impact legislative issues that will affect our members. Now, and into the future, we are committed to providing reliable and affordable energy for our members.