You did it! LPEA board launches investigation of energy supply options

By September 17, 2018 LPEA Spotlight

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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This winter, you pressured the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors to research the “future of the energy industry.” When the Board presented their results earlier this summer, it was clear that if LPEA doesn’t act, our electricity rates will rise. (Did you miss the presentation? We filmed it!)

Faced with the reality that while renewable energy prices are falling coal prices are rising, you demanded LPEA investigate their energy supply options.

Because of you, the board voted 11-1 in August to launch a “Power Supply Committee” (only Director Davin Montoya dissented). This new committee, comprised of board directors and LPEA staff, is authorized to spend money that was allocated in the 2018 budget to:

Hire consulting firm(s) to:

  1. Value our current all-requirements power supply contract with Tri-State
  2. Analyze the wholesale power market, our alternative power supply option

This is huge. LPEA is actively taking steps to determine the best path forward for our cooperative – but they still need your continued support!

LPEA is a democratically run organization, owned by you, the members it serves. You own it. You can determine its future. You’ve proven that this year, but democratic representation only occurs when we participate.

Email your directors. Ask questions. Voice concerns. Say thank you.

 


IN OTHER NEWS…


Transparency initiative:

In July, we presented a letter from diverse community members to the LPEA Board of Directors. The letter asked for two key transparency policy changes: 1) LPEA should record and stream board meetings for those who cannot attend, and 2) LPEA should record how each director voted for all actions recorded in the minutes. You can see the full letter here. The Board responded positively, committing to pursue each request. They will vote on streaming meetings at the September board meeting. Consider backing these transparency requests at a monthly board meeting, or in an email to your board representatives.

RMI Tri-State Report:

A recent study by the Colorado-based research non-profit, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), shows that Tri-State, the company that sells power to LPEA, has high rates that will continue to rise if it doesn’t shift away from its expensive coal-fired power plants. RMI’s report found the cost to generate power at some of Tri-State’s coal plants is almost twice as much as the cost to build and operate new wind facilities.

Qualified Facilities:

Big news! Several development firms have met with LPEA about tentative proposals to install solar projects in LPEA’s territory. These proposals are based on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rulings that allow development of certain energy projects (called “Qualified Facilities”) regardless of Tri-State’s restrictive contract. However, Tri-State is still fighting these rulings and is attempting to charge fees for such projects. While these debates play out at FERC, it is not clear If any of these projects will move forward.

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS:

Next LPEA Meeting, Wednesday, September 19th at 9am, Pagosa Springs at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Voice your support and gratitude for the Power Supply Committee at the next LPEA board meeting! Request that board meetings are recorded and streamed for those who cannot attend. Public comment is from 9am-10am.

Next Power Supply Committee Meeting, Thursday, September 20th, 9am-12pm, LPEA Headquarters. The public is welcome to attend and observe. The meeting will start with a presentation on the Wholesale Power Markets. See all future agendas here.

Call or email your new LPEA Board Directors.

(Hover over your neighborhood for contact information!)


* La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is a member-owned rural electric cooperative that distributes power to La Plata County, Archuleta County, and parts of Hinsdale and Mineral counties in Southwest Colorado. LPEA buys 95% of its power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

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