Like all rural electric cooperatives, HEA is organized under the Seven Cooperative or Rochdale Principles, which means it's owned by the members it serves. If you haven't already done it, you should read through the seven principles. They're posted on the HEA website.
HEA is involved in two efforts that will greatly change our coop and affect our futures. Independent Light will switch the role of HEA from a simple distributor of electricity to producer of most of our power. Over $200 million of new debt is being incurred to accomplish the task. As an owner of the coop, that's your debt. At the same time, HEA is conducting a rate-making process which will change how you are charged for services and energy. Your monthly electric bill is going to climb.
A lot of things have been decided and most remaining policy decisions for both efforts will be made soon. What guidance have you, as a coop owner, provided? Time to influence the outcome is running out.
The HEA Board of Directors has invested much time and energy in both initiatives. Some HEA members think the Board is on the right track while others are disappointed with some of what's being done. But before one commends or condemns it's worth thinking about what we member/owners have contributed under our obligation to the coop.
Consider the first two sentences of the second Cooperative Principle -- Democratic Member Control.
"Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership."
Most HEA members probably support the idea that the Directors are accountable to us, but that's a double-edged sword. Have you made an effort to "actively participate in setting policies and making decisions?" Have you taken time to understand the issues and explain your interests or concerns to the HEA Board?
It's not too late to take responsibility as an owner of HEA. Attend the Aug. 17 Board meeting and Aug. 18 rate-making workshop. Learn about what's being done and how it could affect you. Let your representatives know what you think before all the policies have been decided and all decisions are made.
Information on meetings and issues is available on the HEA website at http://www.homerelectric.com/.
Mike O'Meara, Spokesman
HEA Members Forum
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