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The official voice of West Florida Electric Cooperative:

September 2023

Congress Needs to Step Up for Electric Co-ops

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American families and businesses expect the lights to stay on at a cost they can afford. But that's no longer a guarantee. Nine states saw rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded available supply.

This is no longer a theoretical conversation. And unless policy makers change course, it's going to get worse.

America has a reliability problem. And with the help of co-op leaders across the nation, West Florida electric Cooperative (WFEC) has been a leading voice in sounding the alarm on reliability. Today's energy decisions will determine if there are sufficient resources to keep the lights on tomorrow. First, lawmakers need to acknowledge the problem and identify the challenges. Five issues are currently impacting the reliable delivery of electricity across the nation. They include:
• Increasing demand for electricity as other sectors of the economy are electrified.
• Decreasing electricity supply due to the disorderly retirement and insufficient replacement of existing generation.
• Permitting delays that prevent new electric infrastructure from being built and connected to the grid.
• Supply chain challenges, particularly electric transformer costs and delays.
• Problems with natural gas availability.

None of these challenges will be easy to address, but we can start by asking ourselves this question: Is this what America is supposed to be? Should the threat of rolling blackouts be a permanent facet of U.S. energy policy? The answer to both of those questions is an obvious and resounding no for electric co-ops and the communities we serve.

The long-term solutions require policy makers and regulators to recognize the need for time, technology development and new transmission infrastructure. These are the essential ingredients for an energy future that prioritizes reliable electricity for all consumers, including 42 million Americans served by electric cooperatives.

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