The Coalition of Ratepayers submitted the following letter to the Public Utilities Commission in support of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association’s decision to withdraw from the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. The link to the PDF version of the letter can be found at the bottom of the page.
The Coalition of Ratepayers submits this letter of support for Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in its attempt to withdraw from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. Further, the Coalition urges the Public Utilities Commission to set a withdrawal rate that is fair to both Tri-State and DMEA.
The Coalition urges the Commission to consider this request in light of Tri-State’s actions, which reject individual autonomy and self-determination, are prohibited by public utility law, and are discriminatory as well as a predatory.
DMEA members understand what is at stake and take responsibility for the outcome that may result from breaking with Tri-State. For better or worse, DMEA and the communities it serves want the ability, nay the responsibility, to choose their generation portfolio. Member owned and operated, rural electric cooperatives are unique in that the individuals served ultimately make the business decisions. Tri-State’s refusal undermines and attacks not only DMEA’s personal and economic freedom, but the personal and economic freedom of all the rural-electric cooperatives it serves.
Tri-State claims to support freedom of association with a “core principle” of “voluntary and open membership,” but in action, rejects it. Tri-State says, “everything we do is member-driven and member-focused.” If Tri-State actually held these beliefs, it would have voluntarily approved a fair exit charge and not have stated in its legal filings that members have “no affirmative right to withdraw.”
The Coalition believes public utilities law prohibits Tri-State’s actions and that it is being discriminatory and predatory. In 2016, Tri-State allowed one of its New Mexico cooperatives, which had the same power contract as DMEA, to withdraw after paying a “fair” exit charge. Three years later, Tri-State asserts it can prevent any withdrawal and is unilaterally setting abusive charges.
The Coalition stands by DMEA and its members’ right to self-determination in electric generation and hopes the Commission will set an exit charge that is fair to both parties.
Moreover, the Coalition of Ratepayers supports the city of Boulder’s efforts at municipalization.
According to the city’s website, it decided to consider and explore the option of creating a local electric utility because of its “carbon-intensive” power supply. Although the Coalition of Ratepayers will refrain from commenting on Boulder’s reasoning, it does support the city’s desire for autonomy and self-determination — much like how it supports Delta-Montrose’s decision to withdraw from Tri-State.
Whether it’s member or voter-approved, the Coalition of Ratepayers will support the efforts of those who want the freedom to choose their energy mix.