Central Electric Cooperative President to Testify Before House Natural Resources Committee

Central Electric Cooperative President & CEO Dave Markham

Redmond, OR – Central Electric Cooperative President & CEO Dave Markham will testify before a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Wednesday, May 20, in Washington, D.C.

Markham will speak in support of House Resolution 2358 “Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act” before the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. The resolution is designed to require the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management work with electric cooperatives to provide more timely access to power lines and rights of way on federally managed lands. Utilities require this access for maintenance, upgrades and replacement of lines, and vegetation management to ensure safety and reliability and reduce the threat of wildfires.

This is a big issue for Central Electric Cooperative as 56 percent of the land within the company’s service area is on federally managed land.

“We need a streamlined process that will provide some consistency and accountability,” said Markham. “I am hopeful the training and guidance language in the bill will help alleviate some of the issues cooperatives have faced and ensure agency personnel understand our priority of safety requirements and electrical system reliability.”

H.R. 2358 is being put forth by Reps. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR). The hearing will take place on May 20 at 1:30 p.m. (EST). A live feed of the hearing will be available at http://naturalresources.house.gov/. Just click the “Watch Live Hearings” icon on the right hand side of the home page. A hard copy of Markham’s testimony is also available for viewing.

This is the second time Markham has testified before the House Natural Resources Committee. He addressed this same issue in May 2014. Due to his previous testimony, H.R. 2358 was created.

Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. Background
A member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative, Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) has provided electric utility services to its members in central Oregon since 1941. At the close of 2014, CEC served 32,097 accounts held by 25,732 members in its 5,300 square-mile service territory in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, and parts of Lake, Linn, Wasco, and Grant counties. CEC’s electrical system includes 24 substations and 3,851 miles of energized power lines, including 183 miles of transmission line, 2,262 miles of overhead distribution line and 1,406 miles of underground distribution line.