CORAM: Tri-State leaders pulled a sneaky move; the PUC should stop them

By Senator Don Coram and Representative Jeni Arndt

Many of our constituents have been customers of Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, La Plata Electric Association and Delta-Montrose Electric Association for many years, far too many of which have been filled with higher-than-necessary bills, largely a result of suspect decisions out of Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s metro-Denver corporate offices.

Tri-State is supposed to operate in service to its 42 rural electric cooperative members, independent power distributors who are primarily supplied by Tri-State electricity, but its executives consistently seem to ignore how their business plans harm us. Its latest machinations are a prime example, and we encourage the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to rein in this runaway beast.

The issue first bubbled up four years ago when New Mexico-based Kit Carson Electric had had enough of high rates and Tri-State’s inflexibility in allowing co-ops to develop local renewable energy projects. Tri-State tried to extort $137 million from Kit Carson to buy out its contract but eventually settled on a $37 million exit fee. Three years later, Colorado-based Delta-Montrose Electric went through a similar wringer, negotiating an agreement to end its contract for $62.5 million after a nasty legal battle, less than a quarter of the $322 million Tri-State tried to squeeze from it.

Read the rest of this op-ed on the Denver Post website.

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