Representatives from Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton recently joined electric cooperative leaders from across the United States at the 2013 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

"The NRECA Legislative Conference is a venue for Arkansas electric cooperative leaders to address issues with members of Congress and staff members," Petit Jean Board President Fred Herman said. "The presence of cooperative directors in Washington sends a message to Congress that we are grassroots, we come from their hometowns and we represent the best interests of Arkansans."

During the conference Herman and CEO/General Manager Bill Conine discussed electric cooperative-related issues facing the 113th Congress with staff members with the Arkansas Congressional delegation. Issues included continued funding of the Rural Utility Services electric loan program, coal ash legislation and new efficiency standards for electric water heaters. Herman and Conine also educated the key staffers on the impact of existing and proposed environmental laws on power generation costs.

According to Herman, Petit Jean Electric has a long history of being advocates for its members on issues that could impact electric rates, jobs and quality of life.

"Our goal during the visits is to ensure that the Arkansas Congressional delegation fully understands the ramifications of the proposed legislation on which they may be voting," Conine said. "In today’s society the effectiveness of face-to-face meetings is more valuable than ever."

Petit Jean Electric serves all of Van Buren County, Searcy County south of the Buffalo River and parts of seven other north central Arkansas counties. At the end of 2012, Petit Jean Electric had 19,785 meter connections spread over 3,539 miles of distribution lines. The cooperative has 65 employees and offices in Clinton and Marshall.