||From left: Cedarburg Light & Water Commissioner Jim Coutts, Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives Paul Ryan, and WPPI Energy Manager of Government Relations Joseph Owen
Jim Coutts, Secretary, Cedarburg Light & Water Utility Commission, met with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, as a member of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Policy Makers Council. APPA is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 2,000 not-for- profit, community-owned electric utilities that serve 48 million consumers.
As a member of APPA’s Policy Makers Council, Coutts is one of 45 individuals responsible for promoting policy of importance to public power on Capitol Hill for all 2,000 public power communities, including Cedarburg Light and Water and WPPI Energy’s 40 other Wisconsin member utilities. During the legislative meetings, Coutts highlighted the need to maintain local control over the electric grid, important provisions in the pending federal energy bills and the importance of tax exempt municipal bond financing.
“Recently, there has been a push for tax reform in Washington, D.C. and while I understand it is a needed discussion, it is important for elected officials to understand the impact tax exempt status for municipal bond offerings has on public power customers. It is a cornerstone of maintaining system reliability and keeping electric costs down,” said Coutts. “Without tax exemptions for municipal bonding, every substation and power plant built would be at a substantially higher cost to the utility and, ultimately, our customers.”
Coutts is serving his second term as a member of APPA’s Policy Makers Council. As a member, he assists APPA in promoting federal legislation that is important to public power systems like Cedarburg Light and Water and WPPI Energy. The Council also provides advice on other issues of importance to APPA. Members of the council meet at least twice a year, and participate in meetings with elected representatives and congressional staff for the purposes of supporting APPA’s national legislative agenda.
Coutts and Joseph Owen, WPPI Energy’s Manager of Government Relations, met personally with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Congressmen Grothman and Pocan as well as Senator Ron Johnson. They also met with energy staffers in other Wisconsin Congressional offices including Congressmen Sensenbrenner, Kind, Duffy, Ribble and Senator Baldwin.