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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1998

must answer reasonable requests by consumers about their power source. PUC endorses Federal Trade Commission guidelines on marketing "green" or "environmentally friendly" power. Docket No. L-00970126, May 1, 1998 (Pa. P.U.C.).

Correction: In July 15, a "Courts" (p. 22) item should have read: The Minnesota Court of Appeals said, "We are disinclined to prohibit the state from directing its instrumentalities to engage in environmentally conscious planning strategies."

Co-op Returns to NRECA

Says it now accepts group's stronger policy against mandatory wheeling.

But who really blinked?

AFTER a year's absence from the NRECA, Intermountain Rural Electric Association has paid its $50,700 dues and rejoined the association, according to Stan R. Lewandowski Jr., the co-op's general manager.

"It's an awkward situation being on the outside, and especially being the only person on the outside," he said.

"We're delighted that Intermountain has decided to rejoin the NRECA," said Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. "We've been working together through the last year, talking, and I think everyone came to the conclusion that there's really no significant differences of policy."

The 68,000-member, Colorado co-op left the national organization last year when it complained that the NRECA wasn't taking a strong enough stand against the idea of a federal mandate for retail electric competition. (See "Power Ploy?", Nov. 1, 1997, p. 50 and "Just Say 'Maybe,'" Feb. 1, 1998, p.22., Public Utilities Fortnightly,) Over the past year, the two groups have met occasionally, and NRECA kept the co-op on its publications mailing list, to the point where Lewandowski now believes "NRECA has taken a pretty strong stand against the federal mandate. And quite frankly, what I read was a lot stronger [this year] than what they had done before."

"I firmly believe that at some point there's going to be some type of federal legislation," he said. "I do not believe there's going to be a federal mandate... when that occurs you want to be part of a group that's going to be seated at the table.

"We're happy to be back in." Dues, he said, were not an issue and they were not adjusted in any way.

"I think we've always had serious reservations about any kind of federal mandate," English said. "We think the states should be allowed to proceed at their own pace, make their own determinations as to what works best for them."

English said the co-op might have misunderstood the language the NRECA was using in its policy statements. "There's really been no change."


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