Category: Coop News

Co-ops work to restore power for members after nearly 100,000 affected

After the weekend’s storms, thousands of families in Kentucky were left without power. Kentucky’s 26 electric cooperatives are making great progress restoring electric service and are advising consumer-members on how long it will take until power is restored for everyone.

Co-ops reported that at the height of the outage, over 98,000 consumer-members without power. As of 10:00 AM (EST) on Tuesday, May 28, about 36,000 members were without power. For an updated outage map, click here.

Due to the high number of members without power, sister co-ops have come to lend aid in various regions: Fleming-Mason Energy sent a crew to Meade County RECC; Owen Electric sent ten crews to Cumberland Valley Electric; Pennyrile Electric welcomed contractors and cooperatives from Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Georgia; and Gibson Electric received assistance from Pickwick Electric and Forked Deer Electric in Tennessee, Cruse Powerline in Mayfield and Tennessee Valley Electric.

“It is our top priority to ensure that our consumer-members’ lights turn back on as soon as possible,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “That’s why we are so proud of our 26 electric cooperatives’ diligent work to restore power quickly and safely.”

On Monday, Governor Beshear updated the Commonwealth on the status of power outages, fatalities caused by storm damage and the resiliency of Kentuckians. He was joined by Kentucky Emergency Management Director Eric Gibson and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. Read the press release here.

“Communities across Kentucky experienced storms that produced strong winds, multiple tornadoes and hail in some places. The storm knocked out power for thousands of Kentuckians, temporarily shut down numerous roads and interstates, and caused massive damage to homes and businesses,” said Governor Beshear. “But like we always see after severe weather events, first responders and everyday Kentuckians rallied to help each other in those toughest moments.”

“Crews mobilized yesterday and worked through the day and overnight to help clear roads of trees on state-maintained routes and to support first responder and utility restoration efforts,” said Secretary Gray. “Clearing roadways could take time, especially if it requires clearing downed power lines first. Our Team Kentucky crews are dedicated to keeping travelers safe. Please watch out for them on the roads, drive alert and slow down.”

Gov. Beshear updates Kentuckians on state’s response to strong storms

Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the state’s ongoing response to strong storms that moved through the commonwealth yesterday.

“Communities across Kentucky experienced storms that produced strong winds, multiple tornadoes and hail in some places. The storm knocked out power for thousands of Kentuckians, temporarily shut down numerous roads and interstates, and caused massive damage to homes and businesses,” Gov. Beshear said. “But like we always see after severe weather events, first responders and everyday Kentuckians rallied to help each other in those toughest moments.”

Sadly, the Governor reported there are four confirmed fatalities related to the storms. The deaths occurred in the city of Louisville as well as Hardin, Hopkins and Mercer counties.

“That means we know that there’s at least four families this morning that suffered the loss of a loved one less than 24 hours ago and are hurting,” Gov. Beshear said. “We ought to rally around and do everything we can to carry them in the days, the weeks and the years to come.”

In addition to the four deaths, a Hopkins County man was injured and is currently in the hospital in critical condition.

The Governor is traveling to the hardest impacted areas in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties to view storm damage and speak with local officials and family members. He also urged those who have experienced storm damage to take photographs before cleaning up and report the damages to local county emergency management officials.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Eric Gibson and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray joined the Governor at the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort to provide updates.

“Crews mobilized yesterday and worked through the day and overnight to help clear roads of trees on state-maintained routes and to support first responder and utility restoration efforts,” said Secretary Gray. “Clearing roadways could take time, especially if it requires clearing downed power lines first. Our Team Kentucky crews are dedicated to keeping travelers safe. Please watch out for them on the roads, drive alert and slow down.”

KYEM Director Gibson stressed that help remains available, “The number I wanted to make sure that I shared with you is to our 24-hour watch center that is staffed around the clock here, and this number is not only good when we are in the middle of a storm but if there’s something that you need that you think that Kentucky Emergency Management can provide, we keep staff here 24-7. 1-800-255-2587 – that will be something you want to use if you’re having trouble making contact with your KSP post or local emergency management, as we know they are extremely busy right now.”

Key Updates

The Governor declared a state of emergency and implemented the state’s price gouging laws as storms produced multiple waves of heavy showers and thunderstorms, bringing strong winds, large hail and strong tornadoes. Consumers in the commonwealth can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General.

The Emergency Operations Center was activated to a Level 3 status and response efforts by: Kentucky Emergency Management, Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky State Police, the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Department for Public Health, the National Weather Service, Kentucky State Parks, Forestry, Red Cross and many others.

Fourteen counties have declared a State of Emergency. Emergency declarations in: Bullitt, Caldwell, Clay, Clinton, Hopkins, Knox, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McLean, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Todd and Trigg counties. The five cities with declarations are: Albany, Cadiz, Dawson Springs, Manchester and Russellville.

Owensboro Health in Muhlenberg County lost power and was operating on back-up generators before power was restored. There are also four long-term health care centers on generators, including two in Dawson Springs, one in the city of LaCenter and one in the city of Greenville.

The Division of Forestry has deployed seven saw teams to remove fallen trees and debris. The Kentucky National Guard has stepped up to help once again to join the Division of Forestry in Christian and Muhlenberg counties.

Our Kentucky State Police worked around the clock answering calls and responding to calls of distress. Unfortunately, KSP communication was hit hard by last night’s storms and several KSP post phone lines were knocked out. Several KSP posts have phone lines down and alternate numbers are being provided. These numbers are available at KentuckStatePolice.org and on KSP social media channels.

The Red Cross has one shelter open in Clay County after a tree fell on an apartment building and is currently sheltering six residents and is working to identify any additional needs.

High water, downed trees and other damage have been reported in about 45 counties, mainly in Western Kentucky.

Transportation crews, with assistance from forestry chainsaw teams, will continue to cut trees and clear debris as quickly as possible today to maintain access for emergency responders. Clearing roadways could take time, especially if it requires clearing power lines first.

Motorists should avoid travel, especially in heavily damaged areas, to keep themselves safe and give crews room to work. If you must travel, stay safe by buckling up, watching for debris still alongside highways, and never drive through high water – turn around don’t drown.

Gov. Beshear added, “Kentucky has been through so much, and we continue to remain grateful for our first responders and transportation employees who are working to keep all our families safe and clear roadways.” (more…)

Co-ops, Kentucky AG fight unlawful EPA rule

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency over its unlawful power plant rule.

“EPA’s power plant rule is unlawful, unreasonable and unachievable. It exceeds EPA’s authority and poses an immediate threat to the American electric grid,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said. “Under the rule, EPA illegally attempts to transform the US energy economy by forcing a shift in electricity generation to the agency’s favored sources.”

“Reliable electricity is the foundation of the American economy. EPA’s rule recklessly undermines that foundation by forcing the premature closure of power plants that are critical to keeping the lights on – especially as America increasingly relies on electricity to power the economy.”

Both NRECA and a coalition of 25 state attorneys general, including Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman, filed suit against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

If allowed to take effect, the Biden Administration’s devastating energy rule would target existing coal plants and new natural gas plants with extreme emissions restrictions. The EPA’s crackdown would demand Kentucky’s coal-fired plants to take aggressive steps to curb emissions or force them to close. The government’s recommendations for cutting emissions rely on experimental and costly technologies that haven’t been proven to work.

“As member-owned cooperatives, we have a duty to fight for the Kentuckians at the end of the line who pay the price when bureaucrats carelessly inflict unrealistic and harmful regulations,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, an association representing all 26 co-ops in the commonwealth. “The EPA’s rule is an assault on the electric reliability Kentucky relies on to keep our communities safe, healthy and prosperous.”

Perry applauded Coleman and the other attorneys general across the United States who are also challenging the Biden Administration’s effort to shut down Kentucky’s coal and natural gas power plants.

“We are grateful for Attorney General Coleman and the coalition of attorneys general standing up for ratepayers in Kentucky and all across America,” Perry added.

As of 2022, coal and gas accounted for 95% of Kentucky’s electricity. The Biden Administration’s rush to take existing plants offline in favor of alternative energy sources undermines the reliability of Kentucky’s grid and could leave families and manufacturers without access to affordable electricity.

“Hope is not a strategy, especially when our jobs and our families are on the line,” said Attorney General Coleman. “Simply hoping that unproven technologies will be able to fuel Kentucky’s economy is irresponsible. The result of President Biden’s rule is clear: Kentucky families and job-creators will be cut off from affordable and reliable energy. We’re fighting this radical green agenda that would only leave Kentucky in the dark.”

 

Shelby Energy consumer-member wins Derby

Congratulations to Kentucky Derby 150 winning jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., a consumer-member of Shelby Energy, who delivered one of the most spine-tingling finishes in Derby history. Aboard the 18-1 shot Mystik Dan, Hernandez rode the rail and gamely held off the late charges of Sierra Leone and Forever Young in a head-bobbing result.

Hernandez and trainer Kenny McPeek combined to win their first Derby, one day after teaming up to win their first Kentucky Oaks on Friday with Thorpedo Anna.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, it’s so unbelievable. We came into the weekend thinking that we had a really big chance at winning both Friday and Saturday. For the horses to pull it off for us, we have to thank the guys back in the barn. It’s definitely a surreal moment,” Hernandez said.

So close was the margin in the $5 million Derby that it took several minutes for the order of finish to be posted, capping a dream weekend at Churchill Downs for connections.

“The last 20 years I’ve ridden in Kentucky, and as a young kid out of Louisiana, I had the chance of sitting in the same corner as Calvin Borel. Watching him ride all those Derbys all those years, and today with Mystik Dan, being in the 3 hole,” Hernandez said. “I watched a couple of his rides, with Super Saver and Mine That Bird, and I decided that we were going to roll the dice. That’s the nice thing about Kenny (McPeek), he lets me make those decisions. We had the right kind of horse to give him that kind of trip.”

Earth Day kicks off Beautify the Bluegrass

Today on “Earth Day,” Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are kicking off the 2024 Beautify the Bluegrass campaign, an annual initiative to recognize local efforts that make our Commonwealth a great place to live. For the eighth straight year, the co-ops, Kentucky Living and Kentucky’s Governor are encouraging Kentuckians to submit and nominate projects that preserve our state’s natural beauty or help their communities shine.

“We want to recognize the folks who roll up their sleeves to improve their hometowns,” Governor Andy Beshear says in a video message being released today. “My office is proud to support Beautify the Bluegrass and we want to make sure that the Kentuckians who do the hard work get a pat on the back.”

Any project completed between August 1, 2023 and August 4, 2024 is eligible. Kentuckians can submit their own project or nominate someone in their community at KentuckyLiving.com.

Once finalists are announced during Kentucky Living’s Best in Kentucky Awards Show in August, Kentuckians can vote online for their favorite project through September 1, 2024. Governor Beshear and Kentucky Electric Cooperatives will then jointly announce the winner of the 2024 Beautify the Bluegrass Governor’s Award.

“Co-ops Vote Aims for Voter Turnout Rebound

For the ninth straight year, Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are partnering with Kentucky’s secretary of state to boost voter registration and turnout.
 
At the Kentucky State Capitol on Wednesday, nearly 100 high school students representing electric cooperatives across the commonwealth on the Frankfort Youth Tour joined Secretary of State Michael Adams to kick off the 2024 Co-ops Vote campaign. The nonpartisan initiative began in 2016 with the goal of reversing a downward trend in rural voting.
 
Inspired by the Co-ops Vote message and Adams’ remarks last year, several Frankfort Youth Tour students launched voter registration drives at their high schools, including Central Hardin High School senior Sophia Stover, who in 2023 partnered with Hardin County Clerk Brian D. Smith and Nolin RECC to launch the first county-level “Co-ops Vote” project.
 
“I implore you to see voting not just as a right, but as a privilege that generations before us fought tirelessly to secure,” Stover addressed the youth tour students. “Let’s honor their sacrifices by actively participating in the democratic process. Our future is in our hands, and it’s up to us to shape it.”

A review of State Board of Elections data in the last ten presidential elections shows Kentucky voter turnout has yet to rebound since a steep decline in voter participation 28 years ago. In 1992, Kentucky reported 73.2% of registered voters cast a ballot in the general election. Just four years later, voter turnout dropped to 59.3%. Despite modest increases in subsequent presidential election cycles, voter turnout dipped even lower, to 59.1% in 2016, then clawed back to 60.3% in 2020.

“Over the past 4 years, our commonwealth has received attention and praise nationally, and even internationally, for how we conduct our elections,” Adams said. “I encourage all Kentucky voters to take advantage of the increased ease in voting, and to be heard.”

Since Adams took office, Kentucky has deleted from voting lists the names of more than 350,000 people who are no longer eligible to vote because they moved out of state, were convicted of a felony, were ruled incompetent or died. Meanwhile, January marked ten consecutive months of voter registration increases.

Kentuckians can connect with elected leaders and candidates and stay informed on issues facing rural Kentucky on RuralPowerKY.com, a grassroots portal that links to Co-ops Vote resources.

“We are grateful to Sec. Adams for his partnership on Co-ops Vote,” said Mallory Wafzig, manager of cooperative outreach for Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “Like our youth tour program, Co-ops Vote is nonpartisan and does not endorse any candidate. This is all about civic engagement.”

“Because co-ops belong to and are led by the people they serve, our consumer advocacy is personal,” added Joe Arnold, vice-president of the statewide co-op association. “The concerns of our rural communities need the attention that only voter participation can demand.”

The Co-ops Vote initiative includes several programs to connect voters with their elected officials and publicize registration and ballot deadlines through social media and Kentucky Living, the flagship publication of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives. Earlier this month, the magazine distributed more than 500,000 copies of the 2024 Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Legislative Guide.

In addition to helping Sec. Adams launch this year’s Co-ops Vote initiative, the Frankfort Youth Tour students also met with Gov. Andy Beshear and several members of the legislature who are members of the newly formed Rural Electric Cooperative Caucus, including co-chairs Sen. Robin Webb and Rep. Ashley Tackett Lafferty, and Rep. Samara Heavrin.

Lineworker scholarships for associate degree

Electric cooperative lineworkers have a new pathway for a college degree in Kentucky. With support from Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and Kentuckians who purchase lineman-themed specialty license plates, the Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College System plans to incorporate lineworker training and education into a degree program.

At Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College, representatives from the statewide association of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives presented a check for $50,000 to college leaders. The funds represent donations tied to the Linemen “Power For Your Community” specialty license plates on thousands of vehicles in Kentucky. Proceeds will fund scholarships for eligible lineworkers.

“On behalf of SKYCTC and the entire Kentucky Community and Technical College System, we are so grateful for this level of partnership with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives,” said Dr. James B. McCaslin, Provost of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College. “The future of education is competency-based education. That’s what our employers need, and this helps ensure that Kentucky’s electric lineworkers receive the most world class and safest training.”

The degree program will recognize as college credit the training received in the Lineman Apprenticeship Program administered by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the association of all 26 electric co-ops in the commonwealth. Safety instructors lead the four-year formalized apprenticeship training and certification program utilizing the curriculum of Northwest Lineman College, an industry leader in lineman safety and education.

“Electric lineworkers rely on rigorously tested skills and knowledge to safeguard their lives and the safety of every electric consumer,” said Randy Meredith, safety and training director of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “This partnership recognizes the professionalism of this crucial career and invests in the talented people who commit their lives to the craft.”

The $50,000 donation will fund scholarships for eligible lineworkers who, after completing the apprenticeship program, can work toward an associate degree at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College.

“A gift like this is wonderful,” said Heather Rogers, Vice President of Resource Development & Executive Director of the SKYCTC Foundation. “We are very thrilled and thankful that Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has selected us to work with, and we are very excited to be able to apply this to our matching grant program through KCTCS and double the funds.”

“Apprentice lineworkers will continue to get high-level training, but now they’ll also be able to get an associate degree from SKYCTC, which really reinforces to those who are going into this industry that this isn’t just a job; it’s a career,” McCaslin said. “We want to provide opportunities for them to be able to grow in that career.”

2024 WIRE Scholarships Available for Kentucky College Students

The Kentucky Chapter of Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE) is offering three $1,000 scholarships to Kentucky college students. 

The scholarships are open to any applicant who meets the following criteria:

• Student or Student’s family must be served by a Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.

• Student must have completed at least 60 credit hours at the end of the 2024 spring college term. 

• Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 5, 2024. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July. 

Scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievements, extracurricular activities, career goals, recommendations from professors and community leaders, and financial need. 

Application should be returned by mail to Mallory Wafzig, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232.

2024 WIRE Scholarship Application

The historic start of the Electric Cooperative Caucus 

For the first time in the 87-year history of electric cooperatives in Kentucky, lawmakers in Frankfort have made the historic move to form the Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Caucus, advocating for the interests of local co-op consumer-members across the commonwealth. 

“Electric cooperatives are a vital and vibrant part of rural communities,” says Sen. Robin Webb (D-Grayson), one of the four founding caucus chairs. “This caucus was formed to give legislators an up-close look at their local co-op and develop a better understanding of how the electric grid functions.” 

As consumer-owned utilities, Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are the consumer advocates for the people they serve. The consumer-members of a local co-op elect the board of directors for that local co-op. 

“Just as a local co-op board is accountable to the co-op members who elect them, state legislators like me also serve these same people,” explains caucus co-chair Rep. Wade Williams (R-Earlington). “The co-op caucus provides a great opportunity to connect so we can all serve more effectively.” 

Electric cooperatives provide power to more than 1.8 million Kentucky residents and businesses in 117 counties. 

“Co-ops power some of our largest industries,” says caucus co-chair Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe (R-Lexington). “It is crucial that co-ops have reliable fuel sources to keep the lights on for these businesses, which provide good paying jobs and critical community services.” 

The formation of the caucus comes at a critical time for electric co-ops that face new rules and regulations monthly from Washington, D.C. 

“Co-ops rely on informed and dedicated public servants to help them fight for affordable, reliable and safe power,” says Chase Crigler, community and government affairs director for Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the statewide association representing all 26 electric co-ops in Kentucky. 

“It is always important that the voices of our constituents are heard,” says caucus co-chair Rep. Ashley Tackett Laferty (D-Martin). “We are proud to form this caucus to ensure the voices of local co-op members are heard on critical issues affecting the reliability and affordability of the electric grid and more affordable power bills.” 

KENTUCKY RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CAUCUS 

Sen. Jared Carpenter (R-Berea) 

Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Benton) 

Sen. Matthew Deneen (R-Elizabethtown) 

Sen. Greg Elkins (R-Winchester) 

Sen. Shelley Funke Frommeyer (R-Alexandria) 

Sen. Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) 

Sen. David Givens (R-Greensburg) 

Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon) 

Sen. Jason Howell (R-Murray) 

Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe (R-Lexington) 

Sen. Stephen Meredith (R-Leitchfield) 

Sen. Gerald A. Neal (D-Louisville) 

Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) 

Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) 

Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) 

Sen. Brandon J. Storm (R-London) 

Sen. Lindsey Tichenor (R-Smithfield) 

Sen. Robin L. Webb (D-Grayson) 

Sen. Stephen West (R-Paris) 

Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Fruit Hill) 

Sen. Gex Williams (R-Verona) 

Sen. Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) 

Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) 

Rep. Chad Aull (D-Lexington 

Rep. Shane Baker (R-Somerset) 

Rep. Kim Banta (R-Ft. Mitchell) 

Rep. Danny Bentley (R-Russell) 

Rep. Adam Bowling (R-Middlesboro) 

Rep. Josh Branscum (R-Russell Springs) 

Rep. Josh Bray (R-Mount Vernon) 

Rep. Randy Bridges (R-Paducah) 

Rep. Beverly Chester-Burton (D-Shively) 

Rep. Mike Clines (R-Alexandria) 

Rep. Jennifer Decker (R-Waddy) 

Rep. Jonathan Dixon (R-Corydon) 

Rep. Myron Dossett (R-Pembroke) 

Rep. Robert Duvall (R-Bowling Green) 

Rep. Daniel Elliott (R-Danville) 

Rep. Daniel Fister (R-Versailles) 

Rep. Patrick Flannery (R-Olive Hill) 

Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon (R-Richmond) 

Rep. Chris Freeland (R-Benton) 

Rep. Jim Gooch Jr. (R-Providence) 

Rep. Daniel Grossberg (D-Louisville) 

Rep. David Hale (R-Wellington) 

Rep. Mark Hart (R-Falmouth) 

Rep. Richard Heath (R-Mayfield) 

Rep. Samara Heavrin (R-Leitchfield) 

Rep. Thomas Huff (R-Shepherdsville) 

Rep. Mary Beth Imes (R-Murray) 

Rep. Kevin Jackson (R-Bowing Green) 

Rep. DJ Johnson (R-Owensboro) 

Rep. Kim King (R-Harrodsburg) 

Rep. Matthew Koch (R-Paris) 

Rep. Nima Kulkarni (D-Louisville) 

Rep. William Lawrence (R-Maysville) 

Rep. Derek Lewis (R-London) 

Rep. Scott Lewis (R-Hartford) 

Rep. Matt Lockett (R-Nicholasville) 

Rep. Candy Massaroni (R-Bardstown) 

Rep. Bobby McCool (R-Van Lear) 

Rep. Shawn McPherson (R-Scottsville) 

Rep. David Meade (R-Stanford) 

Rep. Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) 

Rep. Suzanne Miles (R-Owensboro) 

Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser (R-Taylor Mill) 

Rep. Amy Neighbors (R-Edmonton) 

Rep. David W. Osborne (R-Prospect) 

Rep. Michael Sarge Pollock (R-Campbellsville) 

Rep. Phillip Pratt (R-Georgetown) 

Rep. Rebecca Raymer (R-Morgantown) 

Rep. Brandon Reed (R-Hodgenville) 

Rep. Steven Rudy (R-Paducah) 

Rep. Scott Sharp (R-Ashland) 

Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson (D-Lexington) 

Rep. Ashley Tackett Laferty (D-Martin) 

Rep. Nancy Tate (R-Brandenburg) 

Rep. Walker Thomas (R-Hopkinsville) 

Rep. Killian Timoney (R-Nicholasville) 

Rep. James Tipton (R-Taylorsville) 

Rep. Timmy Truett (R-McKee) 

Rep. Ken Upchurch (R-Monticello) 

Rep. Bill Wesley (R-Ravenna) 

Rep. Wade Williams (R-Earlington) 

Rep. Nick Wilson (R-Williamsburg) 

Bold denotes co-chairs 

Caucus list as of December 6, 2023. Updated membership roster available on legislature.ky.gov.

Jim Gooch and Brandon Smith recognized for energy leadership

For their leadership on issues affecting the ability of electric cooperatives to deliver reliable electricity as efficiently as possible, two veteran lawmakers are the recipients of the 2023 Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Power Partner Award. 

Sen. Brandon Smith, of Hazard, and Rep. Jim Gooch, of Providence, received the awards October 19 in Lexington at a meeting of the managers of Kentucky’s 26 electric cooperatives. Co-ops serve about 1.8 million people in 117 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. 

“With the interests of local Kentuckians their priority, both Sen. Smith and Rep. Gooch are tireless in their advocacy,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “As many new public officials take office, the leadership of these knowledgeable and conscientious legislators is invaluable.” 

In their respective roles as chairmen of the Senate and House Natural Resources & Energy committees, Smith and Gooch are consistent and articulate advocates for safe, reliable and cost-efficient electricity. In their long-term service and commitment to their constituents, both legislators have demonstrated diligence, staying up to date on the often complicated issues involving electric utilities. 

“This is an incredible honor and I appreciate the opportunity to highlight my commitment and the legislature’s work to ensure Kentuckians have access to reliable and affordable energy,” Gooch says. “I consistently hear from constituents, both individuals and businesses that are job creators. Energy is a fundamental priority for them. Simply put, it is a basic need. I value my partnership with the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and look forward to continuing to work together to identify the best ways to provide our residents with the energy security they deserve.” 

“This award is truly humbling, and I can’t thank Kentucky Electric Cooperatives enough for their partnership in helping the General Assembly deliver a good energy policy to benefit Kentucky residents,” says Smith. “We as lawmakers should be laser-focused on the safety and security of our residents, and a big part of that is ensuring that Kentucky has adequate power generation to provide our residents affordable and reliable energy. I look forward to continuing to work with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives to identify legislative action that will provide the energy security our Kentucky families deserve and need.”