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Power Ploy? Colorado Co-Op Splits with NRECA, But May Rejoin

Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1997

admitted, that there were staff members saying that. And he said, 'I politely told them that was not our position, and it shouldn't happen again.'"

NRECA also should stop "pushing" diversification by co-ops into other services, Lewandowski insists.

"I've talked to Glenn on a number of occasions and generally it'd be 'yeah, yeah, some of this, that, generally we agree with you,' but it seemed like the general direction was going the other way. So by dropping, we did get his attention. And it wasn't a ploy¼ saying we're going to drop you, get attention, and jump right back in.

"If they make some strides to our position, I sure would recommend to our board that they take a look at it."

The g.m. understands that English can't adopt the Intermountain wheeling position. "Because if he did that, then there's some guy who'd say he's going to take off. But I think a good compromise would be to oppose the federal mandate and the members that he wants that are interested in restructuring, they can go to it and the ones that are not, that should be fought on the state level and he shouldn't have anything to do with it."

Lewandowski says English has made strong statements against wheeling, particularly before a Utah legislative committee. Yet, the comments weren't publicized through association publications, or to the media. A memo to statewide co-op associations asking members to lobby U.S. Rep. Dan Schaefer's (R-Colo.) energy and power subcommittee also wasn't promoted, he says.

"Now maybe they were not widely communicated because Glenn figured, 'If I do that, that's going to tick somebody off on the other side.'

"The only thing that is quite frankly puzzling to me, when NRECA came out with their list of conditions as far as retail wheeling was concerned¼ opposing a federal mandate is not on that list."

Lewandowski says the fight wasn't because of dues, which he guesses fall in the average range. "The dues have nothing to do with it," he says.

English suggests the strongest argument against Lewandowski's posture is that the NRECA resolution on retail wheeling has been up for vote before the membership twice. "And neither Stan nor anyone else stood up and disagreed with it," he says.

"Our position is very clear," he reiterates. "We oppose any kind of federal mandates or retail wheeling on the states¼ and second is the fact that there is some very important criteria that must be met before we could look at any kind of retail wheeling on the federal or state level."

English says the association must be realistic. "We've got 14 states now that have taken some kind of action that is going to provide some kind of change in the electric utility industry in those states. And those states are asking us for help in how to deal with this. We can't ignore reality."

Co-op members in the Northwest recently asked for more help from the national association in telling them what's happening in the rest of the country and in assisting them with