APPA News

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted February 13, 2020

The American Public Power Association’s Legislative Rally, which will take place later this month in Washington, D.C., offers a range of benefits to attendees, including the opportunity to meet in person with policymakers and detail public power’s priorities.

“APPA’s Annual Legislative Rally provides an excellent opportunity for public power officials from across the country to join together and voice our views with federal policymakers about the important issues impacting our industry,” said Jolene Thompson, Executive Vice President of Member Services and External Affairs, at Ohio-based American Municipal Power.

“The event helps augment the work done throughout the year by APPA’s expert advocacy team. There are no better resources than public power leaders to explain how legislative and regulatory policies impact communities in the real world,” she said.

Along with her responsibilities at AMP, Thompson also serves as chair-elect of the APPA Board of Directors. In addition, she serves on the Association’s executive committee and is chair of the non-dues revenue committee.

“The rally gives participants from across the country the opportunity to tell lawmakers their story and provide real-world examples about how federal policies impact their community,” noted Desmarie Waterhouse, Vice President, Government Relations and Counsel, at the Association.

“You can’t underestimate the impact you can have as a constituent having a face-to-face meeting with your elected representatives about how their decisions can impact your delivery of affordable and reliable power to families and businesses in your community,” Waterhouse said.

“The federal government has tremendous influence over our operations and costs,” noted Barry Moline, Executive Director for the California Municipal Utilities Association.

“Because we’re 3,000 miles away, it’s not always easy to show up and make our case. We’re grateful the Association is there, ever vigilant, to keep us engaged on the top issues that impact our communities,” he said.

The rally gives public power officials the chance to have their voices heard on the formation of key policy positions through the Legislative and Resolutions Committee.

Members of the Association’s Legislative and Resolutions Committee meet twice a year to propose and vote on new policy resolutions, which are then voted on by all Association members.

“The L&R Committee’s work offers a great opportunity for Association staff to hear from public power officials and collaborate with them in the development of policy positions,” Waterhouse said.

Moreover, the rally hosts key members of Congress, which gives attendees valuable insights into the current legislative lay of the land on issues of importance to public power.

In addition, attending the rally gives participants the opportunity to communicate to their communities how they are working to advocate on their behalf.

One way to do this is through social media channels. (Click on this link to see how Legislative Rally attendees leveraged Twitter last year to detail which members of Congress they met with, as well as what key issues were discussed during those meetings).

Along with meeting with members of Congress, officials from public power utilities in 2019 also met with members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and are scheduled to do so again this year.

Attendees at the Legislative Rally, which will take place this year from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, include public power leaders and staff, as well as mayors, city council, and board members.

Climate, comparable incentives will be key topics at Legislative Rally

The significant strides made by public power utilities in recent years to cut carbon dioxide emissions and the need for providing comparable incentives to public power utilities looking to invest in new generation will be two key areas of focus at this year’s Legislative Rally.

When it comes to addressing climate change, public power utilities are doing their part by reducing its CO2 emissions to address climate change. These efforts were highlighted by Joy Ditto, the Association’s new president and CEO, in recent remarks at the United States Energy Association’s State of the Energy Industry Forum in Washington, D.C.

The Association believes that climate change legislation must be economy-wide, set clear targets, and provide maximum flexibility to electric utilities.

With respect to comparable incentives, the Association is focused on making sure that energy-related tax credits are refundable or transferable and is pushing for the reinstatement of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds without artificial caps.

Tax-based energy incentives exclude tax-exempt public power utilities, impeding their ability to invest in renewable resources.

Public power wants a diverse generation portfolio, including renewable generation needed to reduce CO2 emission to address climate change.

Additional information about the Legislative Rally is available here.