Gov. Doug Ducey Applauds Co-ops for Providing Vital Services in Rural Areas

Governor’s Visit, Legislative Priorities Highlight Arizona Electric Cooperatives’ Winter Conference

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473, goldfather@azgt.coop

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203, jdwallace@azgt.coop

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey made it clear he is a fan of Arizona’s electric cooperatives when he addressed attendees at the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association’s winter conference in Phoenix recently.

“Thank you for the good work you do,” Ducey said. “Providing reliable, affordable energy is the backbone of any state and any economy. We’re not just talking about creature comfort, we’re talking about public health and safety. If you don’t do your jobs well, it affects lives.”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey addresses the audience at the winter meeting of the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association in Tempe, AZ. GCSECA CEO Dave Lock speaks with Gov. Ducey on stage.

Ducey keynoted the GCSECA conference, held annually at the start of the Arizona legislative session. Electric cooperative CEOs and general managers, board members and other stakeholders gather each year to learn about regulatory and legislative issues that co-ops face.

Casey Ratlief, GCSECA director of government relations and grassroots advocacy, covered the co-ops’ state legislative goals:

  • Promoting legislation to reduce risk for electric cooperatives that want to provide broadband. “Ducey’s budget focuses a lot on rural communities,” Ratlief said, adding it would fund smart-highway broadband corridors and triple the rural broadband development grant program—moves the co-ops endorse.
  • Supporting legislation to pre-empt cities and counties from banning natural gas hookups. “In California, this is preventing builders and developers from including natural gas hookups,” Ratlief said. “If passed, the Arizona legislation would benefit our members with natural gas meters and would send a signal to those who would tinker with Arizona energy policy at the local level.”

Jorge Canaca, GCSECA director of federal regulations and regulatory services, discussed the need to expedite regulations that co-ops support, including the Affordable Clean Energy Act and Waters of the U.S.  “Depending on election results, leaders may decide to rescind the rules if they aren’t finalized by a certain time,” Canaca said. He thanked the Arizona congressional delegation for supporting electric
co-op issues on a nonpartisan basis.

During the conference, electric co-op leaders visited members of the state House and Senate. Dave Lock, GCSECA CEO, said that co-ops and their issues are well known at the state capitol, and co-op leaders have built credibility by meeting one-on-one with lawmakers. “It makes a big difference to tell our story in person,” he said.

About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

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.