MEUA at 86 Years – A Perspective
On July 11, 1930, Thirty one participants from fourteen municipalities met in Jamestown, New York to seek solutions to a variety of electric issues. The result of this meeting was the formation of a new organization -- the Municipal Electric Utilities Association (MEUA).
From this humble beginning the Association has evolved into a vital and dynamic force continuing the mission as foreseen by these founders to foster and advance the efficient operation of publicly owned and operated electric systems including the production, distribution, conservation and prudent use of electric power and energy for public service.
These early leaders were guided by the old adage, “To have the vision to see; the faith to believe; and the courage to do.” That tradition has continued from the first President, F. A. Clayton to our current President, Nancy Steedman.
Without the vision, the faith and courage to do something to protect their mutual interests, MEUA would still be only a thought. Each successive administration has continued to foster these ideals. As we reflect on our history, we see demonstrable proof of this.
There are many instances where vision, faith and courage were necessary to protect municipal’s rights. The membership has, time and time again, risen to the occasion to protect these rights by providing resources and support through legislative and legal activities.
For example, in 1956 the MEUA endorsed and supported the Lehman-Roosevelt bill that created the Niagara Redevelopment Act. This legislation, after a very hard fought battle, was enacted and included a ‘fair share’ provision of the hydroelectric power to municipal and cooperatives called the preference clause.
This preference provision, in the late ‘70s and early 80s was the basis for extended successful litigation over MEUA’s hydroelectric allocations. Also during this time, MEUA was able to muster additional resources to effectively and successfully prevent the Governor and a number of New York State legislators from reducing member’s Niagara hydroelectric allocations through a plethora of proposed legislation. None were ever adopted. Again the Association, through its leaders and members once again demonstrated vision, faith and courage.
MEUA has always used every means possible to protect member’s rights, legally, legislatively and through effective negotiations. Inspired by the concept that reasonable people can achieve rational solutions to difficult problems, the Association has extended members contracts through successful negotiation in 1986, 1991 and most recently, 2003. This has insured that members will have long term contracts that will continue to 2025.
As we begin our 86th year we see that our founders had the vision to see, the faith to believe and the courage to do, and that coupled with a bona fide unity, it’s little wonder that, “Successfully Meeting the Challenges” will always continue.