There are many benefits to Nebraska’s all-public power model, but did you know that you and your rural electric utility also have a voice in the Nebraska Legislature?
Thirty-three rural electric public power districts and electric cooperatives from across the state comprise the membership of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA). The NREA represents our member-systems on issues that come before Congress, the state Legislature, and state and federal agencies. Being actively engaged in policy decisions is vital to keeping electric rates affordable, our electric system reliable, and our public power system accountable. Every year, hundreds of legislative bills are introduced in the Nebraska Legislature and dozens of these bills impact the electric industry. NREA staff members continuously monitor these issues, providing daily representation while the Unicameral is in session. They appear before legislative committees, draft legislation, and carry the rural electric message to the 49 members of the Unicameral.
So where is your voice in this process? Each locally controlled rural public power district or electric cooperative that make up the membership of the NREA, holds a seat on the NREA board of directors. Each February at the NREA board of directors meeting, representatives from your power district meet with others from across the state and take positions on the issues that are impacting Nebraska’s electric industry. From here, the NREA takes these positions and meets with state senators and advocates on behalf of its members.
While NREA staff members are able to have a daily presence at the Unicameral, it is the grassroots support from individuals that leads to our ultimate success. Our recent video highlights the importance of grassroots communication with elected officials. Each year, hundreds of board members, representing rural power districts across Nebraska, come to Lincoln for the NREA Legislative Reception. This reception provides an opportunity for your elected board members to talk with state senators about public power and the issues we face.
Representatives want to serve their constituents well and they need to know how the issues they are voting on will impact the people they represent. Grassroots engagement is vital to keeping elected officials informed on the impacts of proposed legislation.
Whether the NREA is engaging in issues on behalf of our membership or our members themselves are reaching out to elected representatives, the NREA helps give you a voice in the legislative process. We encourage all Nebraskans to stay in close contact with your state senators and members of Congress throughout the year. Every electric ratepayer in Nebraska has a stake in the decisions that are being made in Lincoln and Washington, D.C. Collectively, a well-organized grassroots movement can be an incredibly powerful advocacy tool if a critical mass of participants is mobilized behind a shared message. We invite you to continue to engage on these issues that impact your pocketbook. The NREA thanks you and our members for allowing us to take the message of rural electric power districts to our elected representatives.