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Electric Co-ops Brief Sen. Kaine on Issues Important to Members


Monday, April 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

For further information, contact:

Tish Blackwell



Representatives of Virginia’s consumer-owned electric cooperatives met with Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine April 13 in his Arlington office.

The cooperative representatives, including directors, CEOs, and senior staff, spent more than an hour briefing Kaine on issues important to their members, ranging from high-speed internet access to community solar projects.

The group also discussed topics such as work-force training and the importance of co-ops recovering their costs in providing access on co-op poles to third-party communications companies.

Included in the delegation was Michael Keyser, CEO of BARC Electric. Mr. Keyser discussed with Senator Kaine BARC’s leading role in broadband and solar, including the Cooperative’s solar projects in Bath and Rockbridge Counties, as well as BARC’s fiber-to-the-home project in progress with BARC’s subsidiary, BARC Connects. Mr. Keyser explained to Senator Kaine all the benefits that high-speed Internet will bring to Rockbridge County and soon to Bath County.

 “Access to broadband is a necessity for our members, and essential to operating a modern electric grid. I’m proud of BARC’s accomplishments and was excited to brief the Senator on our solar and broadband initiatives. Senator Kaine was very supportive of our efforts,” said Mr. Keyser.

The meeting was coordinated by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC). Richard Johnstone, the association’s CEO, said, “It was a great opportunity to visit and share some thoughts with one of our U.S. Senators regarding issues that are important to our member-consumers, including access to broadband, use of renewable energy and workforce training opportunities in partnership with community colleges.”



About BARC: In 1938, BARC Electric Cooperative was founded to address the need of electricity access to the rural counties of Bath, Rockbridge and Alleghany. In 1940, additional financing was approved by the REA to build 182 additional miles of line and to provide service to farmers in Bath, Alleghany, Rockbridge, Augusta, and Highland Counties. BARC has grown from 1008 meters connected in 1940 to nearly 13,000 meters today. In 2017, BARC launched a program to bring high-speed internet, television and phone services to all of its members. BARC also offers solar energy to its members through Reliable Energy, its wholly-owned solar subsidiary. BARC’s mission is to improve the quality of life in rural Virginia.

About VMDAEC: Founded in 1944, VMDAEC is the trade association for 15 consumer-owned not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives that serve Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The Glen Allen, Va.-based Association provides its member cooperatives with employee, director, and safety education and training, government relations and legislative support, and communications services, including the publishing of Cooperative Living magazine. For more information, visit VMDAEC or Co-Op Living.