Members of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives are in Washington, D.C. talking with the state’s congressional delegation. Association president, Marion Denger, says one of the top issues is getting things completed for some 200-million dollars in FEMA funding for last winter’s storm damage.
Denger says the funding has been approved, but they need to get all the paperwork done, so the bids for the wiring, parts and equipment can happen. The auction for the lowest cost suppliers has to happen before any work can start. Denger says they can’t do the work without the approval. He says if you start restoration before the paperwork is completed, then the projects cannot receive the FEMA funding.
Denger says the projects have been approved, there’s just not enough people in the department to handle everything. Denger says they would like to get the repairs made as soon as possible. Denger says winter is fast approaching and the systems are being held together with a “band aid” approach and they would like to get them in better shape before winter hits again.
Denger says they also have concerns about the renewable energy standard, and its impact on the association members. Denger says there needs to be some federal language so federal officials can coordinate with the states, as he says it does no good to have renewal energy in Iowa if they cannot transport it out of the state. He says there are also still issues with the E-P-A regulation of greenhouse gases.
Denger says it sounds like things will likely not happen until after the November general election. Denger says from what he’s heard from the delegation, many of the issues will not come up until the “lame duck” session of Congress after the election. Some 20 electric coop representatives are in Washington today and tomorrow.
The association says electric co-ops in Iowa provide electricity in each of the state’s 99 counties to approximately 650,000 Iowans.