By Randall Pierce CEO, Assn. of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives
Pressure is mounting in Congress to do something about climate change. And while political debates in Washington, D.C., may seem far away from Louisiana, the outcome will have a direct impact on our state's cooperatives – and on you, the cooperative member and other electric consumers.
Climate change is but one aspect of a looming energy crisis created by increasing demand and decreasing capacity to meet that demand. Experts now say some areas of the country will be short of power within one or two years.
And yet energy supply isn’t an issue our elected representatives are spending a lot of time on. These forces, the desire by government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly and the growing demand for power by consumers, are about to collide. Some people say we can meet demand through efficiency and renewable energy. The reality is we need all the efficiency and renewable energy we can get, but that will not be enough. To avert an energy crisis, the federal government must exercise true leadership, the same leadership that got Americans to the moon in the 1960s. Without that leadership – without a sound, responsible plan – government risks not only the reliability of our electric system, but literally the ability of many Americans to be able to afford to pay their electric bill. We, as electric co-op members and constituents, must call on elected officials to provide this leadership. That’s why I want to encourage you to contact your elected officials. Now.
You don’t need to be an energy expert to ask questions. Asking questions helps find the answers to solve the problem of balancing climate change goals with keeping your lights on and your electric bills affordable.
Right now, members of Congress as well as state elected officials are hearing from lots of different interest groups who have ideas about how to address climate change. No one is talking to consumers, however. We need a plan people can live with today while we deal with the climate change problem of tomorrow. To make things easy, we have a website that will send an email for you. Go to www.ourenergy.coop and plug in your address. There you’ll be able to ask a series of questions to your representatives in Washington. We’re kicking this effort off with a basic but critical question: What are they doing to make sure we’ll have the power we need in the future? Far too often questions don’t get asked by policy makers until plans go wrong. We believe it makes sense to know the answers before the laws are passed. You can help your elected officials and yourself by having this conversation. The electric bill you save will be your own.