Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-06-22 06:15:00 –
According to federal energy regulators, western local electrical co-operatives, who have repeatedly asked how much it would cost to leave the Tristate Power Transmission Association, were “unjustice and unreasonable” in obtaining these figures. We are facing an “unreasonably discriminatory” hurdle.
“Without clear and transparent exit provisions, Tristate was able to impose substantial barriers to utility members in assessing whether to stay in Tristate,” said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Commission’s (FERC) preliminary decision states.
The Commission has taken its own action in search of a withdrawal fee based on Tristate’s “Acts Against These Utilities Members.” The Commission stated that the association’s fees and bylaws could be “unjustice and unreasonable.”
“This is a rare activity by the FERC and indicates that the FERC is concerned about the lack of transparency and delays in the tristate in offering full exit fees,” said the Durango-based La Plata Electric Association. In a statement by Jessica Matlock, CEO of (LPEA), a co-operative seeking an exit fee
“This issue has now risen to the level of the FERC Commissioner itself, and FERC has unanimously decided to initiate this investigation,” said Matlock.
Nine local electrical co-operatives, including six in Colorado, are seeking an estimate of the cost of ending a long-term contract with Westminster-based Tristate. Develop local, cleaner and cheaper electricity generation..
The Commission has given Tristate 30 days to make a clearer plan for issuing withdrawal fees, or has filed an appeal stating why the association’s approach is “fair and rational.”
The co-operative requested a withdrawal fee quote over a year ago, but the Tristate said it only needs to be quoted if the co-operative announces it, as the FERC was considering an overall rate plan. Insisted. It’s going to leave.
The FERC rejected both arguments. If the Commission decides that the Tri-State exit fee is discriminatory, the FERC has indicated that it can set its own fee and will do so on a dispatch.
“Given the long period of time that Tristate members had to wait for calculations that they should have already received, the Commission intends to act immediately after receiving the Tristate submission,” the order said. ..
“Tristate is considering the FERC order and will continue to work to resolve concerns throughout the Commission’s process,” Tristate CEO Duane Hailey said in a statement. “We are aware of the concerns expressed by the FERC and look forward to working with the Board of Directors and the FERC to resolve these issues.”
Efforts by co-operatives to leave Tristate have been a nuisance for the past four years as some members rubbed under the requirement to purchase 95% of electricity from Tristate.
The contract held by Tri-State, an electricity wholesaler that serves 42 member co-operatives in four states, will continue until 2050.
In 2019, the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos, New Mexico first left Tristate and paid a $ 37 million withdrawal fee. In 2020 Delta-Montrose Electric Association has agreed on a $ 136.5 million split fee..
Two other co-operatives – Brighton-based United Power and LPEA – We have filed a complaint with the Colorado Public Utility Commission seeking exit fees and challenging Tristate’s method of calculating those fees.
United Power is Tristate’s largest co-operative serving 92,000 homes and businesses in the front range, accounting for 17% of 2019 sales and worth about $ 200 million. LPEA is the third largest co-operative with 37,000 members and about 3% of sales.
Tri-State’s view is that it invests in power generation and transmission to serve all these co-operatives, and withdrawal from the co-operative should not undermine the economic interests of the remaining members or the survival of the association. It was a thing.
The Tri-State calculation included not only the portion of the debt that the withdrawing member would be liable for, but also the cost of all the electricity that the existing co-operative would purchase over the next 30 years.
For United Power, Tri-State initially set a withdrawal fee of $ 1.2 billion. According to the Cooperative’s annual report, United Power’s total assets in 2020 were not $ 550 million. The association never gave LPEA an exit quote.
The PUC Administrative Law Judge announced a “recommended decision” to all committees in July 2020, rejecting the Tristate exit ceremony, and Tristate “unjustice” and “discriminatory” estimates of exit fees. I found that I refused to give it as.
But by that time, the tristate Obtained approval exclusively regulated by the FERCThe service area covers four different states: New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska, so it makes more sense to have one regulator oversee the association.
Eric Frankowski, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Western Clean Energy Campaign, said:
In March 2021, seven co-operatives in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska were tri-stated. Interfere with their efforts to get an exit fee quote.. United Power and LPEA were also included in this group. The complaint is still pending.
“LPEA has been trying to get a full exit fee from Tri-State for over two years through multiple cases in both PUC and FERC,” said Matlock.
“We’re just trying to find a fair and impartial way to make decisions,” said Mark Gabriel, CEO of United Power, adding that the co-op’s departure was not a natural conclusion. ..
“We all want a solution,” Gabriel said. “We all spend a fair amount of money on statutory costs.”
According to FERC filings, other Colorado co-operatives requesting exit fees are the San Miguel Electricity Association, Mountain Parks Electricity, the Poodle Valley Regional Electricity Association, and the San Isabel Electricity Association.
Springer Electric Cooperative, New Mexico, and Northwest Public Power District and Wheat Belt Public Power District, Nebraska are other tristate members seeking exit fees.
“We look forward to Tristate applying for new tariffs,” said Ellen Kutzer, a lawyer for the environmental group Western Resources Advocate. “Fighting a difficult battle of appeal is more difficult than going back to the drawing board and creating something to go through the rally at the FERC.”
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Tri-State must tell members seeking cleaner, cheaper energy how much it would cost to break up, regulators say Source link Tri-State must tell members seeking cleaner, cheaper energy how much it would cost to break up, regulators say