The meeting of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) board of directors on Tuesday, April 23, featured the board's positions on two controversial topics — the new Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. (Tri-State) rate structure, called "A-37," and the Colorado Senate Bill 13-252 (SB-252.)
The rate structure, A-37, is Tri-State's new wholesale method of charging its 44 member distribution systems, of which DMEA is one. Colorado cooperatives, Empire Electric Association, La Plata Electric Association and White River Electric Association have appealed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for relief from the new energy-only rate following similar actions by several cooperatives in New Mexico, which resulted in that state's Public Regulation Commission (PRC) suspending the new rate.
Amid the wrangling, the DMEA board appointed a committee to consider DMEA's position. After hearing a point/counterpoint discussion of A-37 with both Tri-State and an independent rate consultant, the board came to a conclusion. After much deliberation, the DMEA board took the following position:
A-37 is not in keeping with historical DMEA rate-making principles. There was no cost of service study done by Tri-State, so the rate is not cost based, and large industrial loads will be excessively impacted. In addition, A-37 will limit smart grid opportunities, risking DMEA's popular Time-of-Use (TOU) rate.It neutralizes our energy efficiency programs, and the predictive-call component of the rate is punitive. DMEA is respectful of our fellow co-ops, understanding that it is best to solve issues within the (Tri-State) family. However, when communication channels brea down, we respect the rights of WREA, EEA, and LPEA to petition the PUC for an outside perspective.
Early this April, a bill concerning Colorado's renewable energy standard was introduced in the Colorado State Senate. The bill, SB-252 — sponsored by Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver — includes an increase in the state's renewable portfolio standard (including such sources as wind, solar and coal mine methane technologies) to 25% by 2020 and places the obligation on a "qualifying wholesale utility" (which essentially applies to Tri-State). Tri-State has voiced opposition to the bill, stating that compliance could cost billions, and the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) has expressed frustration that the bill seems to have been advanced without input from CREA, Tri-State or any individual co-op prior to its introduction.
Despite this opposition, the DMEA board is taking a different position in order to promote local energy generation, which may have a positive effect on local economies. At the April 23 board meeting, DMEA director Ed Marston made a motion to support SB-252 if amended to allow up to 50% local Colorado co-op distributive generation by interested cooperatives. The motion passed.blog comments powered by Disqus