For most people living in rural America, electricity in the home didn’t come along until the late 1940s. Big electric companies were reluctant to invest in the infrastructure needed to get energy all the way out to a few farmers living at the end of a dirt road.
So the government loaned money to start Rural Electric Cooperatives - ratepayer owned non-profits that provided electricity to rural America. And Rural Electric Cooperatives still provide energy to over 42 million customers in this country, including two cooperatives in Vermont.
The national lobbying organization for the country’s 900 rural cooperatives is dead set against climate change regulation. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association –the NRECA- has taken a stand against the proposed EPA regulation of CO2 emissions, and the CEO of the organization, Jo-Ann Emerson, has described climate change as a matter of debate.
Dave Hallquist, CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, says that makes working with the national organization somewhat challenging. He spoke with Vermont Edition about the situation.