WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2015 - Reliability is the top priority of the member-owners of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by NRECA.

In the survey, by Frederick Polls, 750 member-owners of America’s electric cooperatives were asked to identify the most important factor regarding their electric service. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that reliability is most important, while 30 percent said cost is their greatest concern. Conservation and environmental concerns followed, ranking at 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

“The member-owners of America’s electric cooperatives are clear about what’s most important to them, and that’s reliability and affordability,” says Jeffrey Connor, interim CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “When they flip the electric switch, they expect the lights to come on, and stay on, at an affordable rate.”

The findings follow the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which NRECA says could threaten the reliability of the country’s electric supply. According to the NRECA, the CPP will hurt many not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric co-ops, which will lead to higher prices for electricity and force the closure of cooperative-owned power plants.

“The CPP will lead to increased electric bills and it will handcuff rural economies,” Connor says.  “The hardest hit by the plan will be the country’s most vulnerable populations who can least afford to pay more for electricity — people already living on fixed incomes or in poverty.  It’s important for 2016 candidates to consider the devastating impact of this complex and costly scheme on rural voters and rural economies. … As we work to meet 21st century energy demands, cooperatives are concerned about EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and the threat it poses to reliability. Those concerns are shared by our member-consumers at the end of the line.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is a national service organization that represents approximately 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.


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