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CoPIRG calls for basic good governance and transparency for electric coops

Energy and Environment cmte should approve HB1131
For Immediate Release

CoPIRG called on the House Energy and Environment Committee to approve HB21-1131, titled Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements, sponsored by Representatives Amabile and Catlin. The bill would ensure every electric cooperative and the generation and transmission associations they depend on have basic minimum standards of good governance in place. 

The following statement was provided to the committee by Executive Director, Danny Katz:

"On behalf of CoPIRG, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, I’m encouraging you to vote yes on HB21-1131, titled Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements, sponsored by Representatives Amabile and Catlin.

Good government depends on a couple of key ingredients - transparency, clear and accessible paths for participation, and clear rules that allow people to hold their government accountable.

Transparency and good governance is an investment worth making. It is not possible to ensure that government spending decisions are responsible and efficient unless information is publicly accessible, rules for governing are clear and consistent, and the path to participation either during decision making or during elections is open and available. 

It’s critical that every level of government from Congress down to local electric cooperatives prioritize establishing, evaluating and improving upon their good governance policies.

The decisions that electric cooperatives make have a big effect on their members and owners from the size of their monthly utility bill to the public health impacts of the kind of power they purchase. 

To ensure that these decisions are made in a way that maximizes transparency and ensures members and owners can participate in decisions and hold the board accountable, HB21-1131 puts into place basic good governance requirements that all member-owned utilities should have in place.

  • Repeals good governance exemptions for smaller utilities and makes current electric cooperative governance and transparency laws applicable to generation and transmission associations (G&T).
  • Requires electric co-ops to post information about their rates to their websites and to make financial audits available to members on request.
  • Requires a co-op to adopt written policies concerning the compensation of board members and disclosures of conflicts of interest for board members.
  • Ensures board members are not required to give priority loyalty to any G&T above their duty of loyalty to their cooperative.
  • Modernizes and clarifies election procedures for electric co-ops so that every member can easily and securely cast their vote for board members including by a secure electronic means.
  • Requires co-ops to clearly notify members of who is eligible to vote and how to cast a ballot in a board election.

Tens of thousands of Coloradans who are members of an electric cooperative depend on clear and transparent rules and processes. Please pass HB21-1131 and ensure every electric cooperative and the generation and transmission associations they depend on have these minimum standards of good governance in place." 

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