News Briefs

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Mississippians shine when it comes to charitable giving

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Of memories and thanksgiving

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Current Issue


Informing new legislators about your electric service

    With last year being an election year in Mississippi, there were some new faces among the crowd at the opening of the 2016 legislative session in January at the state Capitol.
    One of the new legislators joked that he spent part of that first week just locating the restrooms in the sprawling three-story Capitol building.
    I understand, as one who has served in state government, how overwhelming those first few weeks can be for newcomers. There are lots of new people to meet, a hectic schedule to work out and a hefty workload waiting.
    No doubt all Mississippi legislators are eager to get going in the 2016 session, which will be longer than usual—125 days versus 90—because of the statewide elections last fall.
    We will be at the Capitol too, serving as the voice of your local electric power association and its members. Our task will be to inform new state legislators and other elected officials about electric power associations.
    Because electric power associations serve primarily rural areas, elected officials living in cities may not be aware of the network of 26 consumer-owned electric cooperatives that serves some 1.8 million Mississippians in all regions of the state.
    They probably don’t realize that rural Mississippians have been owning and operating their own electric power associations for some 80 years.
    They might not know that farmers began organizng their own electric power associations in the mid-1930s to provide a much-needed service that no one else would. As not-for-profit cooperatives, electric power associations were a new breed of utility in America, one that could distribute electricity into rural areas at the lowest cost possible.
    Electric power associations’ success spurs growth and progress in rural Mississippi. They empower residents to vastly improve their quality of life through high-quality electric service. Because electric power associations are not beholden to investors, they remain true to their founders’ vision of member-focused, service-oriented electric utilities.
    Making sure legislators understand the purpose and goals of Mississippi’s electric power associations is important to these cooperatives’ future success, and the well-being of their members. Working closely with elected officials enables us to share the electric power association story and to monitor proposals that could hinder our ability to deliver affordable, dependable electric service to anyone who wants it.
    No legislator wants to support a bill that would cause you to pay more for electricity. Yet there have been times when a bill included language that could result in unintended consequences for our members—for example, a significant hike in your electric power association’s operating expenses.
    Our govenment relations team looks for those “gotchas” to inform lawmakers long before a bill comes to a vote. Representatives from your electric power association contribute to this effort as well. They strive to keep the lines of communication open with the lawmakers whose constituents are members of the cooperative, like you.
    Do you know who your state legislators and Congressional delegation are? It’s easy to find out by using the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi 2016 Legislative App, or by checking out our Legislative Roster online at Click on Government Relations and then General Information to reach both of these helpful free products.
    Learn “How a Bill Becomes Law” in the graphic on page 17 of this issue.
    We encourage our members to remain alert to actions in the Mississippi Legislature as the session unfolds. An informed electorate is the most effective means of ensuring responsive state government.

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