Along Those Lines

By NRECA

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Description

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's podcast is focused on the important stories from across co-op country about the issues that matter most to rural America and the energy industry.

Episode Date
Co-op Communications in Times of Crisis
20:51

Electric cooperatives, by their very nature, are accustomed to dealing with disruptions large and small. But the landscape for managing crises is changing dramatically. Stephen Bell, NRECA's senior director for media and public relations, and Bill Coletti, CEO of the reputation management firm Kith, talk us through their advice on how to plan for, respond to and recover from events that interrupt our normal course of business.

This episode is sponsored by G&T Communications. 

May 20, 2020
Keeping Crews and Members Safe, Powered and Connected During the Pandemic
28:00

While many Americans are working remotely to curb the spread of coronavirus, cooperative line crews and broadband technicians are essential workers, keeping members connected to power and internet.

We talk to an expert at Great River Energy, a generation and transmission co-op in Minnesota, about how his co-op is maintaining the electric grid while keeping crews safe and cybersecurity tight. Then we hear from leaders at SEMO Electric Cooperative in Missouri and Jackson Electric Cooperative in Texas about safety measures for staff and meeting the challenge of growing demand for co-op broadband.

This episode is sponsored by Ribbon.

Apr 21, 2020
Workplaces Evolve Amid New Generations, Changing Expectations
22:47

With the American workplace changing dramatically due to new technologies and generational shifts, how are electric co-ops adapting while facing additional challenges unique to their rural environments? Hear from Cheryl Cran, a workplace and leadership expert, and Holly Wetzel, NRECA's senior director for marketing and member communications.

Mar 20, 2020
What’s Next for Co-ops and Battery Storage
24:20

More and more electric utilities are deploying large battery systems to store power, but it’s a technology that’s still very much in its infancy. How are co-ops integrating storage, and how are they using it to serve their members? Hear from NRECA’s Jan Ahlen about the state of this key technology and from Anza Electric Cooperative's Kevin Short and AEPCO's Barry Brown about a joint utility-scale storage project to help Anza battle resiliency challenges.

Feb 14, 2020
Co-op Voters and the 2020 Elections
19:18

We're kicking off the election year by delving into the critical role of rural voters: What issues are important to constituents in electric co-op territories, and what are co-ops doing to make sure their voices are heard? Hear from NRECA Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Connor and pollster Keith Frederick on what to expect in terms of political engagement in co-op country this year.

Jan 10, 2020
How Co-ops Are Ensuring Energy Access for All
18:42

Advancing Energy Access for All, a new NRECA initiative, focuses on low- and moderate-income households who are at risk of being left out of some of the latest advances on the grid. Hear from NRECA’s Adaora Ifebigh, who oversees the initiative, as well as Tony Anderson, CEO of Cherryland Electric Cooperative in Michigan, which has several programs aimed at helping members in need.

Dec 18, 2019
Dealing With the Disastrous Effects of Flooding in the Heartland
23:19

Midwestern farmers faced devastating flooding last spring, with recovery efforts still ongoing. Nebraska farm owners Kristi and Drew Wolfe give a firsthand look at what it’s been like to cope with this disaster. Kim Christiansen, who was GM of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association before joining NRECA, discusses the overall impact in Nebraska, and Sam McDonald of NRECA’s legislative team sheds light on efforts to shape federal flood mitigation priorities.

Nov 12, 2019
Co-ops’ Role in Protecting the Electric Grid
19:26

Season 2 of Along Those Lines kicks off with a look at co-ops' role in protecting the national electric grid. Hear from Co-Mo Electric Cooperative's Ryan Newlon, who works with the National Guard on projects that examine real-life threats and defense strategies for cybersecurity, and NRECA’s Barry Lawson, who discusses how co-ops work with key government agencies on cybersecurity.

Oct 15, 2019
The Push for Congress to Save Co-ops’ Tax-Exempt Status
16:39

An unintended consequence of the 2017 federal tax law is threatening electric co-ops' tax-exempt status. NRECA's Louis Finkel explains why it's vital for Congress to pass the RURAL Act to fix this issue, and two co-op leaders discuss the impact of the tax dilemma firsthand: Tim Johnson of Otsego Electric Cooperative in New York and Scott Reimer of Federated Electric Cooperative in Minnesota.

Sep 10, 2019
How Co-ops Can Be Part of the Rural Health Care Solution
25:39

With access to health care diminishing in many of the country’s rural areas, hear from three co-op leaders who are prioritizing programs to get critical care to members of their communities: David Lambert of Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Shawn Taylor of the Wyoming Rural Electric Association and Geoff Oldfather of Arizona G&T Cooperatives.

Aug 20, 2019
Beneficial Electrification 101
24:13

If you work in the energy industry or follow its developments, you’re probably familiar with the term “beneficial electrification.” But do you really understand what it means? Get the full rundown from NRECA’s Keith Dennis, Jeff Haase of Great River Energy in Minnesota and Sam Adair of Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Illinois.

Jul 18, 2019
NRECA President Curtis Wynn Looks to Co-ops’ Future
22:23

NRECA President Curtis Wynn first entered the electric cooperative world as a teenager. Now,  he's charged with leading co-ops across the country through the challenges of a changing industry. Hear from Wynn on everything from his early career track—where his passion for community development came into focus—to his plans for helping co-ops navigate new consumer expectations and grid modernization.

Jun 14, 2019
Saving the Monarch Butterfly
23:05

The monarch butterfly is in trouble, with its numbers in decline for the last few decades, its habitat rapidly disappearing, and an Endangered Species Act listing on the horizon. We're joined by NRECA's Janelle Lemen and Stephanie Crawford along with Dairyland Power Cooperative's Brad Foss to discuss the challenges the monarch faces and the steps co-ops are taking to save this iconic species.

May 14, 2019
Zero Contacts: Keeping Line Crews Safe
21:10

As we spend April honoring lineworkers, it's time to zero in on safety and what it takes to ensure that crews don’t come into contact with live lines. Heath Martin, a co-op safety director, shares the harrowing story of a mistake early in his career as a lineworker that could have cost him his life. We're also joined by safety experts from NRECA and Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange.

Apr 16, 2019
The Rise of Female Lineworkers
09:45

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we take you behind the scenes with a woman who’s making her way in a male-dominated industry. Hear the story of Kaitlyn Vaillancourt, a 21-year-old apprentice lineworker at Pedernales Electric Cooperative near Austin, Texas—the only woman among the co-op’s 200 lineworkers.

Mar 15, 2019
Co-op Innovation and the Evolving Grid
22:09

What is the evolving grid—and what does it mean for how we'll consume electricity in the future? We're joined by three experts to zero in on electric co-ops’ unique position to plug into this trend: NRECA's Jim Spiers, Patty Richards from Washington Electric Cooperative in Vermont, and Lee Ragsdale from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.

Feb 12, 2019
Advocating for Co-ops in a Divided Congress
20:31

With a new year and a new Congress, what will emerge as key policy issues for co-ops in 2019? We're joined by Kirk Johnson and John Cassady of NRECA's government relations department to discuss how the association works with members of Congress and their staffs to represent co-op interests, and what to expect on issues ranging from infrastructure to distributed energy resources.

Jan 15, 2019
Waging a Comeback for Small-Town America
24:51

Changes in the rural population over recent decades have left many Main Streets across America looking like ghost towns. What factors can help reverse that trend in the coming years? We're joined by NRECA's Jeffrey Connor, Zack Mannheimer, a proponent of "creative placemaking," and Midland Power Cooperative's Norm Fandel to discuss community development and revitalizing small towns.

Dec 11, 2018
Can Electric Co-ops Bridge the Digital Divide?
21:18

For electric cooperatives, the chance to play a role in bridging the digital divide brings a major opportunity to have lasting impacts on their rural communities. We’re joined by two rural broadband experts, Mike Keyser, CEO of BARC Electric Cooperative in Millboro, Virginia, and Brian O’Hara, regulatory issues director in NRECA’s government relations team, to talk about the key issues co-ops face in pursuing broadband projects.

Nov 08, 2018
Rural America and the Midterms: Co-ops Should Engage With Candidates
18:52
From the farmer at the end of the rural road to the commuters traveling the interstates to and from the suburbs, every electric cooperative consumer-member has a vote on Election Day.

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson is reinforcing the value of each one of those votes.
A seven-term congressman from Utah before taking the reins at NRECA in 2016, Matheson knows a thing or two about elections.

In this debut edition of Along Those Lines, Matheson encourages all electric cooperative members to participate in the November elections. And he has a special message for co-op leaders about the importance of engaging with elected officials—and those who would like to be elected.
Sep 19, 2018