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

Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1997

what's going on in their states. "Quite frankly, I don't have the resources at this point to keep up with all the demand we've got," the CEO says.

English says the association states its views in its publications; Lewandowski penned one editorial. Publicity is left to the whim of the media, he says. "I've never said [wheeling] was inevitable. We have never said it is inevitable."

On the other hand, the administrator of the U.S. Rural Utilities Service has described wheeling as unavoidable.

Diversification is not being pushed, English insists. "To the contrary, we're urging our members to look very carefully before they leap into these new businesses."

English remains assured that he can win back Intermountain to the NRECA. That confidence, he says, is "based on sitting down and exploring these issues. Obviously as we go through this, I don't find that there are any differences¼ I guess that's what I'm puzzled about."

English says NRECA and the co-op will meet to "clear the matter up. At this point that date hasn't been set. [Lewandowski] did tell me he would let me know when that would be appropriate. So I'm waiting for his call."

Something the sides do agree on is that federal legislation won't move this year. Next year is a question mark.

"I have not sensed among the members of Congress an interest in passing legislation and putting it on the President's desk," English says. "Election years are not particularly good years for passing controversial legislation."

Congress, Lewandowski predicts, will leave the issue alone until it sees what states do. It will take more than half the states to take the plunge for Congress to act, he says. "Most [federal politicians] look at it like it's dead in the water," he says. "Except Schaefer. He's the only guy who's saying he's going to get markup on a bill."

Joseph F. Schuler Jr. is an associate editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.

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