The local electric cooperative in Northern Colorado, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA) is urging its members and elected officials to voice their frustration with the Colorado Public Utility Commission’s (CoPUC) recent actions to exclude participation from most Colorado electric cooperatives in an important electric utility industry decision.
The CoPUC is hearing a case to determine an exit charge for two of the seventeen Colorado cooperatives who are members of Tri-State Generation and Transmission (Tri-State) – PVREA’s wholesale power provider. All Tri-State member cooperatives in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and New Mexico could be significantly affected by the outcome of the CoPUC decision. To protect their members and to be sure their interests were represented, many cooperatives, including PVREA, expressed the need to be involved in the case. PVREA’s and the other cooperative’s requests were denied by the CoPUC. Instead, only the two cooperatives who filed disputes to receive an exit fee from Tri-State have been involved.
“The Colorado PUC’s decision on this case does not affect just the two cooperatives that filed. This case affects all Colorado cooperatives, including PVREA, who purchase wholesale power from Tri-State,” said PVREA President and CEO Jeff Wadsworth, “This case could have significant impacts to our members’ rates with no input from us, and that is unacceptable.”
Electric cooperatives are organized as a member-owned, not-for-profit entity. This allows co-ops to pool resources and accomplish more excellent services and benefits for their members. For a wholesale electric cooperative like Tri-State to function economically, all distribution cooperatives sign long-term power contracts. This joint commitment allows the wholesale cooperative to make future investment commitments to ensure electricity is available to the local distribution cooperative, like PVREA, at planned, reasonable rates.
PVREA is urging CoPUC and elected officials to recognize the need for all invested electric cooperatives’ interest to be considered in this action. Without input and discussion from all Tri-State’s distribution cooperatives, each risks a significant loss of equity and could suffer substantial economic impact.
PVREA is asking members to send emails to their senators and representatives, urging elected officials to learn more about how this decision affects all electric cooperatives in Colorado, and not to support CoPUC in this action.
PVREA members can visit www.pvrea.coop/grassroots to send an email to their elected official.