CEO’s Message – November 2022

A Seat at the Table

Headshot of Clay FitchThere is an adage in politics, “If you aren’t at the table, you’ll be on the menu.” Advancing the interest of our members requires your board of directors and staff to be at the table whenever issues that could affect you are debated. Often, we need you at the table as well.

The battle to defeat Question 3—also known as the Energy Choice Initiative in 2018—is a classic example. Board members and employees attended countless meetings, wrote articles, participated in interviews, produced advertising, built alliances and talked to anyone who would listen in every forum that would allow it. Ultimately, the decision was in your hands. What seemed inevitable after 72% of voters approved Question 3 in 2016 was overturned in 2018. After a hard-fought battle, 67% of voters opposed that misguided attempt to address an incredibly complex issue through a constitutional amendment.

Although there isn’t a 2022 ballot initiative aimed at electric utilities, your vote affects the future of your cooperative. From races for the Nevada Senate and Assembly to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, the choices made this November will impact how electricity is generated and how much it costs. Regardless of your party or views, I urge you to vote.

We respect our members’ opinions and recognize your interests cover the political spectrum. Given the diversity of those opinions, it would be too controversial to use the money you pay for electricity to make campaign contributions. To bridge that gap, members of your board of directors and staff make personal contributions to two nonpartisan political action committees.

The Action Committee for Rural Electrification raises funds to support candidates in federal races whose views align with rural electricity consumers’ interests. At the state level, Rural Electrification Advocates of Nevada raises funds to support like-minded candidates in Nevada Senate and Assembly races.

When the election is over, your board and staff will be at the table on your behalf. However, making sure your voice is heard requires allies. In Utah and Idaho, you are represented by the Utah Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Idaho Consumer-owned Utilities Association, where the combined strength of consumer-owned utilities influences legislative and regulatory matters.

Since 1974, the Nevada Rural Electric Association has represented the consumers served by 5 electric cooperatives, 2 power districts and one municipality. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has your back at the federal level.

When it comes to wholesale power supply, we rely on a network of associations that focus on specific issues. Northwest RiverPartners is a collaborative effort among electric utilities, sportsmen, irrigators and transportation companies that rely on the Columbia and Snake rivers and lobby for efficient river operations.

Northwest Requirements Utilities represents consumer-owned electric utilities that are all-requirements customers of Bonneville Power Administration. Consumers served by public power utilities rely on the Northwest Public Power Association and the Public Power Council to manage legislation and regulation in multiple forums across the Pacific Northwest.

While allies are important, our most valuable ally is you. Again, I encourage you to vote.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer