New federal guidance for energy cooperative is being developed to help protect consumer privacy and protect the public health, the National Energy Cooperative Association said Monday.
The voluntary guidelines were released to help the Department of Labor determine whether a cooperative’s activities should be classified as an energy cooperative under federal law, the association said in a news release.
Cooperatives are currently allowed to sell energy services to consumers under certain circumstances.
But the new guidance could make it harder for cooperatives to do so.
It says that cooperatives must be certified as an alternative energy producer by a federal government agency, which is considered a certification if the cooperative’s members receive certain kinds of benefits.
The association has been trying to pass new legislation to help consumers and their companies avoid the type of data collection that is commonplace in the energy sector, said Robert J. Fenn, president of the association.
The new federal guidelines would apply to cooperatives that sell energy to consumers, but would not apply to those that do not, according to the association, which was founded in 2009.
The guidelines would not prohibit cooperatives from selling to consumers that they sell energy in other ways.
They would only require them to disclose information about consumers’ purchasing patterns to consumers and to state regulators.
The association did not provide a timeline for the agency’s decision.