Electric cooperatives not only serve members’ needs through the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable electric service; they also provide legislative advocacy. “State legislators are elected to serve the same group of people that make up our membership,” said Steve Harmon, Community Electric Cooperative president and CEO. “Therefore, we share a common interest in legislative issues that impact them.”

Steve Harmon, president and CEO of Community Electric Cooperative, discusses microgrid issues with Del. Clinton Jenkins of Suffolk.

The Windsor, Va.-based cooperative recently hosted Del. Clinton Jenkins, who represents Virginia’s 76th House District, for a discussion and tour of its innovative microgrid system. The co-op’s subsidiary, RECORE, specializes in standby emergency power and has been supplying on-site energy solutions for 20 years.

Harmon, along with co-op COO Jonathan Thompson, discussed the significance of CEC and RECORE as industry leaders in implementing innovative technology in alternative energy. Although RECORE may be a for-profit subsidiary, co-op members directly benefit from its success.

Outside, Thompson explained the relationship between the co-op’s solar array and battery storage, which make up its microgrid. Jenkins and his staff were allowed into the Energy Intelligence Unit that houses the battery to witness how the system works.

“Cooperatives should be consistently working with the elected officials on their behalf,” said Harmon. “Being engaged in the legislative process helps cooperatives fulfill their mission to provide reliable, affordable energy and lightens legal and regulatory burdens.”

—Report by Jim Robertson, Member Projects Specialist, VMDAEC.