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.
Last November LPEA’s Power Supply Committee voted to hire two consultants to evaluate both our all-requirements contract with Tri-State and the wholesale power market.
This April, the consultants finished their work and presented to the LPEA Board. For legal reasons, though, the consultants did not present all data to the general public.
Evaluation of our Tri-State Contract
The estimated cost of LPEA buying out of their contract with Tri-State was presented to the Board, but remains a mystery to the general public. Enchantment Energy and Rio Energy presented their methodologies for the contract evaluation and noted that Delta-Montrose self-calculated its number using a similar approach.
Wholesale Power Market Analysis
Energy Strategies, based in Salt Lake City, presented a few of the key conclusions from their analysis of the wholesale power market:
- There would be no loss in reliability if we switched power providers.
- Under an alternative supplier, LPEA would still receive the same ancillary services from a regional agency.
- LPEA can save money by buying power on the open market
- Energy Strategies analyzed LPEA’s options on the wholesale market, and in all presented scenarios ranging from 30% to 100% renewable in 2020, costs were less than the current rate LPEA pays to Tri-State.
- Acting quickly could pay off
- Prices are low right now, so there could be an enormous benefit in locking in a low power price before future uncertainties in rate fluctuations
This is HUGE news. These studies show that LPEA can work toward a future that’s both fiscally and environmentally responsible.
What Happens Next?
The Power Supply Committee’s work may be over, but the road to an affordable, responsible energy future is just beginning. As a roadmap, the Power Supply Committee gave several recommendations to the Board in the form of three motions, all of which passed:
- LPEA staff will obtain indicative pricing with a wholesale provider that will help the co-op meet their new goal and include local generation
- LPEA staff will determine the costs and data needs of a transmission study. This study will help determine LPEA’s needs should they purchase power on the wholesale power market
- LPEA will host at least one public forum in each of the districts to update members about the consultants’ reports and planned next steps
Finally, one last motion was passed to analyze how these costs will affect members’ rates and LPEA’s cash flow.
Everyone who helped in this effort has a lot to be proud of. LPEA has come a long way in the last year towards a future with affordable, reliable, sustainable power. As always, though, there is still work to be done. Stay involved, stay informed, and stay engaged.
Next LPEA Meetings:
Annual Meeting: Thursday, May 2nd. Registration at 5pm, business meeting begins at 6:30. Held at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Election results will be announced!
May Board Meeting: Wednesday May 15th at LPEA Headquarters. Public comment is at 9am.
Call or email your LPEA Board Directors.
(Hover over your neighborhood for contact information!)
thank you to the Committee for your work on this important topic; I am looking forward to posing questions to LPEA this Thursday./