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  • Writer's pictureKyle Crider

We Own It: Central Alabama Electric Cooperative Reform

Alabama Interfaith Power & Light Program Coordinator Kyle Crider has been awarded a We Own It! fellowship and needs your help locating member-owners of the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC).

According to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) Rates of Solar web site, CAEC “charges solar customers $2.05 per day, which is approximately $60 per month” for a typical 5 Kw home system. This is an egregious tax on free sunlight, which amounts to an average of $21,600 solar fees paid to utility over the 30-year lifespan of each owner’s system. Furthermore, CAEC does not offer a community solar program. SELC compares CAEC to the BARC Electric Cooperative, which “serves 12,500 customers in the Shenandoah Valley of Western Virginia. The co-op gives customers full credit at its retail rate for any solar sent onto the grid, and allows residential customers to install solar systems up to 20 kW in size without imposing monthly fees or charges.”

This can change. I will be organizing the member-owners of the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, across the counties of Autauga, Elmore, Coosa and Chilton counties, as well as members in Tallapoosa, Talladega, Bibb, Perry, Dallas and Lowndes counties. According to the latest (2016) annual report available, 3,454 members exercised their right to vote in the 2016 election of CAEC trustees. That means that if we reach just over 1,727 voting members, we will achieve success.

This is why I applied to We Own It's Fellowship program. Past fellows have spoken about how the Fellowship program changed their approach to the co-op -- after years of work without always much to show, now they are recruiting candidates, running for the board, building a broad coalition of member owners in the community, and building power to challenge the board. They've spoken of the quality of instruction creating a life-changing experience for them, the inspiration that the Fellowship program provided them and the other members of their team, the opportunity to meet great coaches and instructors, as well as other fellows from across the country. They’ve spoken about how important the small stipend was to pay for their travel as they met with other members across a broad territory.

But I need your help. I need the names of CAEC member-owners (as a co-op, if you are a member, you are an owner!) to reach out to. So if you are a member, or know someone who is, please let me know! Here is where members are located:

According to the CAEC web site, "Central Alabama Electric Cooperative is a not for profit, member-owned electric distribution utility serving more than 42,000 members in a 10-county area of central Alabama just north of Montgomery. The cooperative’s service area covers most of the rural areas of Autauga, Elmore, Coosa and Chilton counties as well as members in Tallapoosa, Talladega, Bibb, Perry, Dallas and Lowndes counties."



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