In our annual tally of the stories that drew the most readers throughout the year, we saw some familiar topics for electric cooperatives rise to the top of the list: federal policy impacts, lineworker heroics and extreme weather—including Hurricane Ida and the Texas outage crisis. Check out the stories that resonated the most in 2021:
A line crew from Minnesota’s Lake Country Power jumped into rescue mode on Veterans Day when they spotted an overturned, partially submerged car in a rain-filled ditch. The lineworkers’ quick actions saved a young mother who had lost control of her car on a slippery road.
Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana and Mississippi in August as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. mainland, leaving several co-ops with catastrophic damage to their systems. Houma-based South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association was particularly hard-hit and faced its largest-ever restoration effort.
Co-ops were dealt a major challenge this year with postal rate increases well above inflation. The U.S. Postal Service increased rates for nonprofit marketing mail by an average of 7.8% in August, leaving co-ops to pay a lot more to mail everything from bills to magazines.
Frigid temperatures and a winter storm in February caused widespread outages across several states, with Texas faring the worst. Utilities across the Lone Star State faced crippling power supply shortages, and customers dealt with extended service interruptions and rolling blackouts.
In a letter and white paper submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in February about the $9.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, NRECA expressed concerns over winning bidders with unproven technologies and urged the commission to ensure the winners can fulfill their obligations to deploy broadband to unserved communities.
Wishing a safe and happy holiday season to electric.coop readers. We look forward to telling more co-op stories in 2022.