Focus in LPEA election should remain on policy

Incapable of intelligently debating the need for and how to move La Plata Electric Association toward a genuinely cleaner energy future, my detractors are seeking to steer attention to, well, anything else. Their latest curveball is a business venture that failed when the price of our commodity plunged by 70 percent just as we started up during the Great Recession. They falsely suggest I made lots of money at others’ expense when, in fact, I lost everything I had, including my house.

The motivation for these deceptive attacks is clear. Some of LPEA’s conservative old-guard directors are terrified at the prospect of losing their decades-long hold on power. This movement began when I had the temerity to speak out publicly with my blog, The Energy Critic. With this new level of transparency, I broke an unspoken code – one in which minority-view directors were expected to publicly remain silent. LPEA’s members subsequently elected five new board members over two years.

For nine years, I have been the foremost champion on the LPEA board for cost-effective, clean energy to help reduce the impacts of coal-fired power, such as our community solar garden policy (a half dozen of which are planned this summer) and energy-efficiency programs to help members lower their bills. And when others were happy to rubber stamp, I have questioned how we fundamentally do business – for instance, by working to keep the base charge from rising until we better assess all rate inequities.

It’s a shame LPEA’s old guard and their allies are resorting to these attacks when there is real and important work to do. I urge you to reject the venom directed at myself – and the responsible actions I advocate – to address our contribution to climate change (Many board members still actually deny it). Together we can make progress in cleaning up our electricity and helping members keep their bills low.

Jeff Berman

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