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Letter: ‘The uncooperative co-op’

Published on August 28, 2018 4:31PM


To the Editor:

Someone once noted that “the whole point of good propaganda” is that “you want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against ... Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s crucial that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something...”

Which brings me to the recent issue of Oregon Trail Electric Co-op’s Ruralite. Nestled amongst articles on county fairs and funerals was an article offering slogans aplenty and another highlighting the D.C. Youth Tour. These were meant to burnish the reputation of OTEC as a community-minded entity, but careful reading reveals just empty slogans and half-truths.

The article “It’s a Matter of Principles,” contained seven warm and fuzzy headliner slogans, but I’ll concentrate on the first: “The Power of Membership,” with translations along the way.

“Local members call the shots” — if you can get through all the obstacles for getting elected as a well paid director, they will have to listen to you; otherwise forget it.

“We are accessible. You can call or email us and know someone here is listening.” — of course they listen, but they don’t have to respond, especially if you ask essential questions pertaining to rate studies or employee compensation.

Directors “have only two things in mind: ... keeping the lights on and keeping costs affordable.” — except for bloated administrative salaries and pet projects like sending well-heeled teens to lobby in D.C., which despite OTEC’s repeated statements, does affect rates. Every penny spent on pet projects could have been spent on capital projects like substations.

Speaking of rates, OTEC’s were not raised but Idaho Power’s residential rates decreased by 3.27 percent recently, so many OTEC members would still be better off with Idaho Power.

As for my inquiries, OTEC would not even provide crucial information needed to understand whether they are treating all classes of ratepayers fairly or whether total compensation for various positions is adequate or extravagant. So, no, as a member you don’t call the shots — your power is very limited. Looks like the uncooperative co-op to me.

Christopher Christie

Baker City



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