We built POWER MOVES for you, but we shared it with policymakers

Because electricity generation and transmission has been our business since we came into being 50 years ago, we like to think we’ve picked up a thing or two about how best to do it. We also want to preserve our right to do what we know.

And so we took our show on the road, talking with key state policymakers in Indiana so that they best understand what electric co-ops are doing about energy efficiency and demand-side management.

As you might remember, Indiana’s own efficiency program, Energizing Indiana, was ended by legislation enacted earlier in 2014. That program had been created by executive action from the governor, and was compulsory for electric utilities that are rate-regulated by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (but not our electric co-operatives, which are member-owned). Because that didn’t go well, we wanted to see what we could do about educating policymakers about what we do and how we do it—not because we have to but because it’s the right thing for our members and our community. In fact, it’s what we’ve been doing even before Energizing Indiana came into being.

“Co-ops have been too humble about discussing our successes,” said Scott Bowers, Vice President of Government Relations at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “We have a lot of good information and experience—a lot of great results we can share—and we felt it was important that we weigh in and share that with the individuals in the state who most needed to understand what we do.”

Along with Hoosier Energy, representatives from Wabash Valley Power Association and Indiana Electric Cooperatives brought the State House to our house, in a meeting we hosted to detail efforts toward energy efficiency. We showed off this website, for one thing. And our PowerShift program. Our rebates, appliance recycling program, and home energy assessments.

“We were able to show them a lot of positive impact for our members, and a lot of great results,” Bowers said. “For every dollar we invest in these programs, Wabash Valley Power members see $1.70 in savings. That’s substantial.”

The objective was to give key state policymakers more information on our energy efficiency and demand-side management programs as the policy debate within the state moves forward. And we feel pretty good about having met that objective.

“Given how many questions they asked about tactical points, I think we ultimately gave them a better understanding of all the things we’ve been doing without a mandate—and cost-effectively,” Bowers said. “Not being part of the previous mandate gave us the flexibility to design our programs to meet the needs of our members and to get maximum results. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished.”