One of our priorities at Lynches River Electric Cooperative is to be our members’ trusted source of relevant energy information. That role extends beyond those we serve, however. It also extends to those that are serving you and me—our lawmakers at the State House and in Washington, D.C.
Every year, South Carolina’s General Assembly, the U.S. Congress and governmental agencies consider issues that affect our members. Whether it is legislation or regulations involving energy generation, tax breaks, infrastructure funding or anything else that impacts your pocketbook and quality of life, we strive to make certain that cooperatives are a trusted source of reliable public policy analysis. That’s why we work closely with elected officials, ensuring that they understand and are enabled to act on the issues that are important to our members.
The cooperative model provides a strong network of resources that helps us cultivate these relationships and advocate for you. It’s a collective effort that involves our staff, trustees and our cooperative partners statewide and in the nation’s capital. Fortunately, more often than not, we see those trusted relationships and that advocacy yield positive results for cooperative members and our state as a whole.
Last year, the S.C. General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by our Governor that increased tax credits for LREC because we are actively involved in infrastructure and development projects. This change helped us invest in projects that bring jobs, provide services and stimulate our local economy. This economic activity can have a substantial positive impact not only on our community, but even on the overall price of power to the extent it makes our systems’ use of generation resources more efficient.
The General Assembly also authorized the spending of their share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds—$2 billion—on infrastructure projects. It includes $400 million for broadband expansion, which allowed RiverNet Connect, a subsidiary of Lynches River Electric Cooperative, to apply for and receive grants funds that will lower the cost of these resources to each of our members receiving service. I urge any member that doesn’t subscribe to RiverNet Connect’s internet service to call and sign up today.
Legislators’ understanding of how we operate and educate our employees was crucial in a driver training bill passed last session. It allows our statewide association, which provides much of the training to our workforce, to offer entry level driver training now required to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Without this allowance, cooperatives would be forced to absorb an added and unnecessary expense.
We’re thankful for our elected officials and the relationships we have with them. We’re encouraged when they seek our expertise on energy-related issues and trust our input when bills that matter to us are being considered. Every policy that we promote we hold to the test that it must be good for cooperative members and for all citizens.
With a new legislative session just beginning, we’ll continue to serve as a trusted source for you and for our elected leaders.