Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2020

A Simple Hello

Every day we are reminded of the devastation COVID-19 has brought to our country and the world. Every day our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and are grieving. Every day seems to drag on as we hope and pray for an end to this pandemic.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

Many of our members, especially our senior citizens, are feeling the loneliness and the lack of connection brought on by the virus and stay-at-home order. They are longing to see family and friends—but, because of their age and physical health, the dangers of interaction and risk of infection are too high. For many, even when the order is lifted, the fear will remain until the pandemic is eradicated.

Now is the time for all of us to be proactive in telephoning our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues and our neighbors and reminding them that we are thinking about and checking on them. For some, a simple HELLO can brighten a very lonely day.

Power On

On a different note, if you are having trouble paying your bill as a result of the coronavirus, we want to work with you. Please call us at 253-847-4363 to learn about existing community programs, Operation Roundup and our installment payment options that can help you get back on your feet.

#ThankATeacher

Every day in schools across the country, teachers touch the lives of millions of children. They inspire a lifelong love of learning and discovery, and make a difference in the wellbeing and long-term success of children. Parents have gained a better understanding of those challenges as schools have shut down across the nation.

The National Parent Teacher Association has designated one week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. We encourage you to pause during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, and really show your love for the teachers in our lives. Thank you teachers!

As we work to limit person-to-person contact, entrance to our office will not be available to outside visitors until further notice. But rest assured, we are not closed. Instead of coming to an office to speak to us in person, we encourage you to manage your account from the safety of your home. If you need to drop off a payment, our drive-thru remains open.

At Ohop Mutual Light Co., we have always been driven to help our community grow and meet whatever challenges come our way. Our employees, with a strong sense of conviction and quiet courage, work very hard to keep the power on for our members.

I’m not sure what life will look like in the next month, two months, or even a year down the road, but I do know this community. We are resilient. We will adapt. We will get through this.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to reduce the risk of this disease spreading in our area and as we look forward to a return to normal.

Kenneth Klotz
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – February 2020

When People Speak, Congress Still Listens

American Capital Building in Washington DC at Dusk

Politics have become so polarized it can be tough for Democrats and Republicans to come together to tackle big challenges. But that’s exactly what happened recently in Washington, D.C., thanks to dedicated lawmakers, including five from Washington.

Reps. Susan DelBene (D-2), Dan Newhouse (R-4), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5), Derek Kilmer (D-6) and Denny Heck (D-10) listened to thousands of electric cooperative stakeholders as they fought tirelessly to add important legislation to the 2020 federal government spending bill. The bill was signed into law in December, and included a provision known as the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands—or RURAL Act—which solved an existential issue for electric co-ops and America’s rural communities.

Electric co-ops work to secure government grants to help pay for numerous activities that benefit the communities they serve. These include grants for storm recovery, broadband deployment, renewable energy and economic development.

To maintain their tax-exempt status, co-ops can receive no more than 15% of their income from nonmember sources. Historically, government grants to co-ops were counted as contributions to capital. But due to a glitch in the 2017 tax law, government grants were reclassified as income, pushing some co-ops beyond the 15% threshold and jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

The tax problem left co-ops with an unfair choice: Do they take the money they need to turn the lights back on for their members as quickly as possible after a disaster? Do they accept the broadband grants to help close the digital divide between rural and urban America? Or do they turn down those grants so they don’t have to spend their members’ money paying taxes rather than improving service?

Thanks to Congress, electric co-ops across Washington don’t have to make those trade-offs. This is good news for both co-ops and their members, because some co-ops would have had to raise their electric rates to pay new taxes.

The electric cooperatives in Washington are extremely grateful to the members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation for their support of the RURAL Act. In standing up for Washington’s local communities, they proved that Congress still works for the people. Notably, the legislation drew the bipartisan support of more than 300 lawmakers in the House and more than half of the Senate before it was passed. That’s a rarity these days.

In today’s fast-paced society, pausing to give thanks is done with increasing rarity. That is unfortunate.

Thank you, Reps. DelBene, Newhouse, Rodgers, Kilmer and Heck for looking out for rural communities across Washington. And thank you for working with us to solve this problem.

Kent Lopez
General Manager
Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association