State agencies pledge to share data to provide better services

Illinois is in the midst of an IT transformation to modernize its systems to provide state services more quickly and at a lower cost. Due to aging systems that cannot communicate with each other – particularly in the case of human services agencies – residents must call multiple agencies to find info­rmation or sign up […]

linemen BW

Got electricity? Thank a lineman

Despite improvements, line work remains a dangerous job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts electric ­utility line work among the nation’s top 10 most hazardous ­professions, according to the agency’s most recent census using 2014 data. Electric line technicians recorded a 19.2 fatality rate per 100,000 workers, ninth on the list. While the number […]

Agriculture Secretary announces Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund

In May, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million into small food and agriculture businesses across rural America. The fund is known as the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund. “Like their counterparts in urban areas, innovative small businesses throughout rural America need […]

John Freitag renewable conf_r1

Illinois Renewable Energy Conference July 21

John Freitag, Vice President of Operations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives and Executive Director for the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, will be speaking at the third annual Illinois Renewable Energy Conference to be held Thursday, July 21, at the Bone Student Center of Illinois State University in Normal. The conference is led by […]

Lyle Dunham

Illinois pioneers of rural electrification

Lyle E. Dunham Lyle Dunham was “loaned” to the AIEC on a temporary basis in the summer of 1951 by Adams Electrical Co-Operative to ­manage the AIEC Annual Meeting Caravan. The Caravan crisscrossed the state to a dozen co-op annual meetings during hot summers, and consisted of three trailers full of two mammoth-sized tents, 5,000 […]

Gov Rauner Youth Day 2016

Co-op sponsored students meet with state leaders

During the Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day on Wednesday, April 13 in Springfield more than 225 students from around Illinois had an opportunity to visit the State Capitol, view state government in action and question their legislators on key issues. They heard from their local state senators and representatives and some even met […]

SIU receives $1 million grant to fuel energy scholarships

A national research agency has awarded Southern Illinois University Carbondale a new $1 million grant aimed at helping community college ­students prepare for careers in the energy sector. The National Science Foundation awarded the grant from its Division of Undergraduate Education to SIU, said Lizette Chevalier, associate dean of the College of Engineering. Students can […]

Bustos staff 5-3-16

Co-op leaders discuss issues on Capitol Hill

Joining nearly 1,500 electric cooperative leaders, including Illinois co-op managers and board ­members, discussed key co-op issues with ­members of Congress and their staffs at Capitol Hill meetings during the 2016 NRECA Legislative Conference, held May 1-3 in Washington, D.C. At one meeting, the Illinois co-op ­delegation met with Rep. Cheri Bustos’ Legislative Director Lyron […]


Electrifying Africa Act passes Congress

You don’t hear much about bipartisan support on anything these days, which makes passage of the Electrify Africa Act one bright spot. The U.S. House of Representatives in February passed S. 2152, the Electrify Africa Act, with strong support from electric cooperatives and the NRECA. The Senate passed the legislation unanimously and the bill was […]


USDA and Norris Electric Cooperative offer job-creating loan

Colleen Callahan, USDA Rural Development Director for Illinois, presented Norris Electric Cooperative with a symbolic check for $102,845 to promote rural economic development in Cumberland County. The funds will be loaned at zero percent interest to business start-up Ag Underground. Ag Underground is owned by Justin Holsapple, who grew up on a farm in Cumberland […]