Pat Becker, Utility Commission President advocated on behalf of New Richmond Utilities and the over 2,000 public power communities across the U.S. at the American Public Power Association's (APPA) 2018 Legislative Rally, held Feb. 26-28. They joined representatives from other WPPI Energy member communities in Washington, D.C. where they conducted in-person meetings with members of Congress.
"The legislative rally is an opportunity for public power representatives to come together as a strong, united group to speak with legislators about important energy policy that has the potential to affect the utility, community and public power as a whole," said Becker. "We support policy aimed at keeping utility costs stable and maintaining local control."
The group met with Wisconsin Senators Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R), as well as Wisconsin's 7th District Congressman Sean Duffy (R), and representatives from other Wisconsin districts. During these meetings, they thanked the legislators for maintaining the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds throughout the tax reform process, and encouraged them to support municipal bond-related policy recommendations that will save public power customers money on electric and water infrastructure projects.
They also encouraged legislators to oppose legislative proposals that would expand the federal government's role in decisions about how New Richmond Utilities manages its day-to-day operations.
"We believe that decisions about how to best manage our local utility ought to be left to the local leaders who know our system best," said Becker. "I was very happy with how supportive our federal legislators were on that issue."
"It's important for local leaders to meet with their legislators to share their perspectives on energy policy and its effects on public power communities," said Joseph Owen, Manager of Government Relations for WPPI Energy. "Even thoughtful and well-intentioned legislative proposals can have unintended consequences, and the Wisconsin Congressional delegation is always receptive to hearing about those concerns."
Pat Becker participated in the event with funding support from the community's not-for-profit power supplier WPPI Energy.