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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: Investing in Valley Electric Association’s future

In recent years, Valley Electric Association, Inc. (VEA) has made a number of significant investments in an effort to create new economic opportunities for our service territory and maintain rate stability for our member-owners.

As a cooperative, providing homes and businesses with reliable and affordable electricity is always our top priority.

As a result of VEA’s proactive business strategy, our cooperative has not raised its rates since 2010, and our current projections do not call for a rate adjustment until 2018.

To support our efforts to keep rates low, VEA continues to pursue unique, forward-thinking endeavors that provide long-term value.

As an example, VEA gained a valuable new source of revenue when it joined the California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) balancing authority in 2013.

This agreement provides VEA with opportunities to maximize the utilization of its transmission system, allowing the cooperative to make excess capacity available to members of the California ISO.

This generates millions of dollars each year for VEA, further strengthening our cooperative’s financial position.

VEA is also committed to upgrading and maintaining its transmission and distribution infrastructure.

In recent years, we have completed a number of significant projects in an effort to meet the future needs of our member-owners.

As part of the recent Northwest Transmission Loop Project, we began installing fiber optics on all transmission lines and some distribution lines.

VEA now has 124 miles of fiber-optic lines that connect the Las Vegas communications hub with our service area. In addition, we are working with other companies to further utilize our transmission lines for additional fiber-optic lines.

This will provide increased revenue and data opportunities for VEA and its members.

In the coming months, we expect to have new information to share about our planned solar energy generation project and a corresponding community solar program.

These efforts further serve to highlight VEA’s dedication to investing in the future of the communities it serves.

Tom Husted has served as the CEO of VEA since 2006. He has more than 30 years of experience in the utility industry across the Western United States, including more than 20 years as a CEO. Each monthly edition of VEA’s Ruralite magazine features a column from Husted, offering his thoughts about issues affecting the cooperative and the communities it serves.

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