Tri-State’s FERC Application Denied

This blog series covers the monthly La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors meetings. We’re tracking the board for transparency and accountability, as well as to stay current on their renewable energy initiatives. Find past and future spotlights here.

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Tri-State’s FERC application is denied

After months of confusion, speculation, and outrage surrounding Tri-State’s application for regulation under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), their filing was denied.

FERC rejected all of Tri-State’s filing as “deficient”, but the order rejected the filings without prejudice, meaning Tri-State can file again. Tri-State’s CEO Duane Highley claims that the rejection was based on technical issues, and he expects Tri-State’s reapplication to be quickly accepted.

In the meantime, this could be a good time for member co-ops who are looking at buying out of their contracts to make progress. Working under the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is cheaper and more straightforward than FERC. This is an opportunity for negotiation at the state level for cooperatives tired of rates 40% higher than other utilities.

Tri-State has repeatedly claimed that even if they are regulated under FERC they will still be in compliance with Colorado’s new resource planning requirements, including renewable energy mandates and carbon reduction requirements. Duane Highley promised the PUC that Tri-State would meet or exceed the state’s emissions goals, but we still don’t know how they will achieve those reductions and whether Tri-State will retire coal resources that are out-of-state but still serve Colorado customers. Plus, after the secretive and rushed FERC application process, it’s easy to be skeptical about Tri-State’s supposedly pure intentions. We’ll be keeping an eye on Tri-State as they move forward, and will continue to update you on the latest developments.

Hearing for PUC Rulemaking Concludes

The first hearing regarding rules for Tri-State’s long-term resource planning happened on October 15th. During this one-day rulemaking, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) considered adopting new rules about Tri-State’s Electric Resource Plan (ERP), which is a plan that helps utilities review generating resource costs and decide where to invest resources for electricity moving forward.

At the hearing the PUC asked Tri-State tough questions about their renewable energy commitments and listened to public concerns about Tri-State’s transparency issues. In the afternoon, they considered legal questions about new ERP rules and planning processes.

Hundreds of comments were submitted asking the PUC to hold Tri-State to higher standards, thanks to member-owners like you. Thanks for standing up and making sure your voice was heard!

It’s not too late to make a comment – the PUC has extended the deadline for this rulemaking to November 15th! If you haven’t yet, click here for talking points and instructions on how to make a comment.

The PUC expects to make a decision and adopt new rules for Tri-State ERP by the end of this year- stay tuned for what they decide!

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS:

Next LPEA Meetings:

November Board Meeting: Wednesday November 20th at LPEA Headquarters. Public comment is at 9am.

Call or email your LPEA Board Directors.

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