"Anyone who assumes rural electric cooperatives will not be fully engaged in whatever system we have . . . if they assume the more competitive it becomes, the less we'll be engaged . . . they're very wrong."
(em Glenn English, CEO,
National Rural Electric
Ten terms as a U.S. Representative from Oklahoma's Sixth District taught Glenn English how to build consensus. Although his agenda and goals differ now, his mission at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) shows all the signs of an election campaign.
NRECA's 900 cooperatives (em which include 60 generating and transmitting co-ops (G&Ts) (em have mixed opinions on retail wheeling and electric distribution. They expect the usual arguments from investor-owned utilities (IOUs) about their "favored" federal financing status. They plan to fight public power proponents on annexation. They anticipate more takeovers from IOUs eyeing co-ops with large, once-rural power loads that have become attractive suburbs. They recognize that their future lies with Congress: English believes universal service and deregulation conflict, and will until legislators weigh in.
It's a tough agenda. Winning consensus on leading issues won't be easy. But NRECA's CEO is up to the task. And English says co-ops are steeled to face the competitive forge, despite some small differences: "Anyone who assumes rural electric cooperatives will not be fully engaged in whatever system we have (em no matter how much regulation or deregulation (em if they assume the more competitive it becomes, the less we'll be engaged ... they're very wrong."