Graham County Electric Cooperative Represented at Statewide Legislative Meetings

GCEC members attending a legislative meetingGCEC CEO and General Manager Phil Cook, GCEC Board Members, Join Legislative Delegation Educating State Lawmakers and Regulators About Arizona’s Electric Cooperatives.

For Phil Cook, one of the highlights of this year’s legislative conference was when a Phoenix-based member of the state house of representatives, after hearing about the not-for-profit business model of the cooperative, asked “why can’t we use the co-op model for the whole state?”

“That was a great moment, for that freshman member of the state legislature to recognize our notfor- profit, Member-first business model for how great it is for the Member-consumer,” said Cook, GCEC CEO and General Manager. “That’s exciting!”

Arizona’s electric cooperatives are represented at the state capitol and to Arizona’s congressional delegation by the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association, based in Tempe.

Every January and coinciding with the start of the legislative session, GCSECA schedules meetings with every member of the state house and senate, as well as the Arizona Corporation Commission, so that officials from the state’s electric cooperatives can educate them about the challenges and needs of the cooperatives. This year’s day-long schedule of visits was held January 24th.

“It’s ultimately about our Members and educating the legislators and regulators who make policy that will impact them and the cost of power, about the needs of the rural Members we serve, especially the need to keep power reliable and affordable,” said Cook.

“We meet with everyone we can meet with, regardless of their political party; it’s all about energy issues and how we continue to meet the challenges of providing power,” Cook said.

“We also meet with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) members, to discuss regulatory issues and how they might impact our Members,” Cook said.

“I think we have to have an understanding that we need a mix of energy resources; we can’t just go 100-percent renewables, without costs rising dramatically and the possibility of reliability issues,” Cook said.

“We don’t want to have blackouts and other issues, and the technology, while good and getting better, isn’t there yet,” Cook said.

“In the end, keeping the power grid reliable, safe, and affordable – how we do it may be somewhat debatable – but no one argues providing affordable and reliable electricity is a priority,” Cook said.