A scorecard released today by Appalachian Voices reveals that rural electric cooperatives in the Southeast need critical reform to ensure they are operating according to good governance standards and providing clean energy programs to their members. The new scorecards build on a previous project, and find that while Virginia’s electric co-ops have made some reforms and are leading the region, there is still room for improvement.
Today, advocacy organizations across seven southeastern states released scorecards that examine the policies and programs of the region’s rural electric cooperatives across a number of areas, including governance, transparency, energy efficiency, member access to renewable energy and other factors. Though no co-op across seven states scored more than 65 out of 100 total points, co-ops in Tennessee achieved an average score of 28 points.
Today, Appalachian Voices released scorecards examining how electric cooperatives in North Carolina measured up across a number of areas, including governance, transparency, energy efficiency, member access to clean energy and other factors. The results showed that the majority of the 26 co-ops in North Carolina impose significant barriers for customer-members to participate in the democratic governance of their co-ops, while only a few offer services or supportive policies to help members lower their electric bills.
On Nov. 16, organizations from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia will release scorecards examining how electric cooperatives in their states measured up across a number of areas.
Although the Kentucky Public Service Commission denied the utility’s original request for a 25 percent rate increase, the body approved a rate hike of 12.5 percent for residential customers.
From The Appalachian Voice: As coal production continues to decline, many citizens and groups in central Appalachia are working hard to find new avenues for economic diversification.
Late Monday evening, Appalachian Voices and our partners finalized a historic settlement in our case against Frasure Creek Mining. The settlement follows a five-year-long legal battle to protect eastern Kentucky’s waterways and bring a coal company notorious for violating environmental laws to justice.
Appalachian states vary in their reactions to the Clean Power Plan: West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio have filed a lawsuit against the new regulations, while Virginia and Maryland are working to defend the plan.
“Kindness always lit up the face of Jean Ritchie,” begins this remembrance by author Silas House of the Appalachian folk icon who died yesterday at 92. “She was a source of incredible pride for my people. Everyone I knew loved Jean Ritchie, and they especially loved the way she represented Appalachian people: with generosity and sweetness, yes. But also with defiance and strength.”
President Obama recently proposed more than $1 billion in funding to restore lands and waters in coal-impacted communities and boost efforts to grow sustainable local economies. It’s a sound idea, and a long time coming, although Congress may not approve it. Meanwhile, Appalachian Voices and others continue working to move the region forward.