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The official voice of West Florida Electric Cooperative:

April 2024

How Energy Policy Impacts You

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Change is a constant in today's energy industry. Electric co-ops across the country are leaning into change as we explore new ways to meet tomorrow's growing energy needs.

Electric co-ops play a crucial role in ensuring the lights come on every time Americans flip the switch. Our primary responsibility is to our members, and we remain committed to providing service that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean. Energy policy has a profound impact on our ability to accomplish those goals and our national energy policies must embrace this fundamental promise.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the watchdog for our nation's grid, has issued several warnings about threats to grid reliability, warning that rolling blackouts could soon be the new norm. Nine states experienced blackouts in 2022 when electricity supply simply could not keep up with demand. And over the next five years, NERC forecasts that all or parts of 19 states from Montana to Louisiana are at high risk of rolling blackouts during normal peak conditions.

These warnings should not be taken lightly, which is why electric co-ops are pressing policymakers to recognize the need for time,technology development and new infrastructure, alongside policies that include a diverse mix of energy sources to maintain reliable power.

Challenges to Reliability
The economy of the future will be heavily reliant on electricity. From data centers and manufacturing to electric vehicles and electric heat pumps, the demand for electricity is set to rise dramatically. Co-ops are planning for this surge in demand by investing in infrastructure, technologies and power supplies that will allow them to meet members' needs, but additional challenges lie ahead.

Opposite this increasing demand for electricity, many power plants that generate always available electricity are being shut down without adequate replacements, posing a significant threat to reliability. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pursuing sweeping new regulations that would force the premature closure of always available power plants while also making it harder to permit, site and build critical new plants. Electric co-ops have urged the EPA to withdraw these proposed regulations that would lead to more blackouts, higher costs and uncertainty for Americans.

A Proactive Approach
Electric co-ops are at the forefront of innovation and are already adapting to the unique needs of the members we serve. From community solar projects and energy efficiency programs to carbon capture and advanced nuclear generations, co-ops are leading the way.

Advocating for rational policies in Washington, D.C. that preserve reliability and affordability is crucial. This month, electric cooperative leaders will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual Legislative Conference where they will meet with members of Congress and federal agencies to discuss key issues and concerns surrounding reliability. This allows co-ops to educate policymakers on the issues that matter most to the American families and businesses we serve.

Today's energy decisions and policies will determine if there are enough resources to meet tomorrow's energy needs. Electric co-ops will continue advocating for their members to ensure a reliable supply of electricity that powers everyday life.

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