NRECA is offering a new toolkit to make it easier for electric cooperatives to meet with their members of Congress in August when lawmakers are home for their annual legislative recess.
“The August recess is a great time to engage with lawmakers as they travel their districts and re-engage constituents," NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said in a recent email to co-op CEOs. “Their schedules for August will soon start filling up, so please consider extending these invites to your lawmakers as soon as possible."
More than 2,000 co-op leaders came to Washington, D.C., in April and converged on Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional delegations during NRECA's annual Legislative Conference. Connecting with those lawmakers again while they're home will “continue our congressional engagement by inviting them to visit their local co-ops for discussions on the importance of reliability and what it takes to keep the lights on every day," Matheson said.
The toolkit helps co-ops talk about why reliable, affordable electricity should be a key focus of federal energy policy. It includes an infographic that highlights nine federal regulations that threaten reliability.
The toolkit also helps co-ops educate lawmakers about the five biggest issues affecting reliability: growing demand for electricity as transportation and other economic sectors electrify; decreased supply as fossil-fuel-based power plants are closed prematurely; permitting challenges that delay new energy projects; continuing supply chain disruptions and natural gas shortages.
NRECA has been pushing the reliability message hard on Capitol Hill, but lawmakers also need to hear directly from their local electric co-ops, said Shelby Hartley, NRECA's advocacy communications manager.
“Members of Congress are beholden to their constituents, and co-op members are their constituents," she said. “We can shout it from the rooftops here in Washington, but it makes a bigger impact if they hear it from the people living in their districts."
NRECA originally created a congressional engagement toolkit in 2020 to help co-ops set up virtual meetings with their delegations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated toolkit offers a step-by-step guide for inviting members of Congress to visit local co-ops. It also includes draft press releases and social media templates for co-ops to publicize the events.
“But the main focus is really to create an echo chamber on energy reliability and continue to stress that to elected leaders when they are home in August," Hartley said.
NRECA is asking co-ops that schedule visits with their lawmakers to let the association know. That way, the Government Relations team can follow-up with those members of Congress and amplify the message, Hartley said.
Co-ops that need any additional help after reviewing the toolkit can contact Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hannah Hardin in Government Relations at email@example.com.