(BENSON) – The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay for the Environmental Protection Agency’s(EPA) Clean Power Plan(CPP) February. The narrow five to four decision will block the EPA’s carbon rules for power plants while the Court considers challenges from states and industry groups. The decision reverses a lower court’s decision last month to not grant a stay while the CPP is challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
From the start, the CPP has placed Arizona’s Generation and Transmission Cooperatives (AzGT) in a precarious position as it sought ways to comply with the possible new rules and continue to provide its members with safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
“This is unexpected but extremely welcome, especially for Arizona’s Generation and Transmission Cooperatives and other not-for-profit, member-owned G&T cooperatives around the nation. We have said all along that this one-size-fits-all rule does not take into account our unique cooperative model nor the impact that trying to comply with it will have on the members who rely on us for safe, reliable and affordable power,” said Patrick Ledger, AzGT CEO.
About Arizona’s G&T Cooperatives
- Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO), Southwest Transmission Cooperative (SWTC) and Sierra Southwest Cooperative Services collectively make up AzGT.
- AEPCO owns and operates the 605 (combined gross) megawatt Apache Generating Station in Cochise, Arizona, east of Benson.
- SWTC owns and maintains more than 622 miles of transmission lines and 27 substations that transmit wholesale power from the Apache Generating Station to six Member Distribution Cooperatives in southern Arizona, northwestern Arizona, and California.
- Combined, the Distribution Cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 150,000 meters representing more than 350,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial customers.
- The Class A Member Cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include:
- Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative in Willcox,
- Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative in Duncan,
- Graham County Electric Cooperative in Pima,
- Trico Electric Cooperative in Marana,
- Mohave Electric Cooperative in Bullhead City,
- And the California member, Anza Electric Cooperative in Anza.
- These member cooperatives own the AzGT and by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members, the people at the end of the line who use the power.
About Arizona’s electric cooperative member-consumers
The G&Ts and their member cooperatives are not-for-profit utilities that are owned by the people they serve, most of whom live in rural areas.
- These cooperatives depend on fewer consumer-members to share their costs than for-profit utilities.
- On average, one third of these consumer-members live at or below the federal poverty level.
- Cooperative consumer-members spend a higher percentage of their income on electricity than customers of for-profit utilities.
Electric cooperatives provide much-needed, highly-skilled jobs for their communities.