United Power’s definition of a banner year is one in which we find new ways to better serve our members and our communities. We are working tirelessly to position the cooperative for future success, using our experience and expertise to prepare for emerging trends and industry changes. We developed Our Cooperative Roadmap (Roadmap) as an evolving action plan to guide our decisions in the coming years, and we took the first steps toward executing the plan last year. Behind the scenes, we were also working to improve our system’s resiliency and efficiency so members can have even greater peace of mind knowing they will continue to receive reliable power. In 2022, we also introduced new member programs, welcomed back members for our first in-person annual meeting since 2019, and went above and beyond in supporting our local nonprofits.
Seeking More Flexible, Affordable, Sustainable Power
As an electric distribution cooperative, United Power does not generate its own power. The cooperative must instead purchase wholesale power from a generation supplier. For many years, United Power has purchased 95% of its wholesale power from one source. As clean energy technologies advance and the cost to maintain coal-fired power plants increases, United Power has sought ways to seek more affordable, flexible, and sustainable power from its wholesale provider. The cooperative even worked toward modifying the terms of the current contract, which limits United Power’s ability to source more than 5% as locally-generated, more affordable energy. Unable to come to an agreement with its current power provider, United Power filed its notice of intent to withdraw, effective May 1, 2024.
“Unfortunately, our power supplier has been ignoring our efforts to come to an amicable arrangement that better supports the needs of our members,” said Mark A. Gabriel, United Power’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Instead of working with us in the pursuit of lower-cost, cleaner options, our power supplier has resisted these developments.”
This pending change in power suppliers does not affect your membership with United Power. There will be no change in the quality of our service, the reliability of your power, or our commitment to our members. We encourage you to read more about the upcoming transition on our Power Supply page. .
Improving System Reliability
Speaking of reliability, United Power has consistently reported some of the best performance numbers for electric utilities across the country. This is due in part to a targeted maintenance practice that focuses on analyzing data to isolate the worst performing segments on the electric delivery system. Strategically placed smart devices collect critical information and transfer it back to system operators. Once identified, maintenance projects can be targeted to improve these segments.
The national average for outage duration hovers around 120 minutes per meter, meaning a person can expect to experience an aggregate of approximately two hours of outage time at their home over the course of a year. Since instituting the new maintenance practice in 2017, United Power’s outage times have dropped below 70 minutes per meter.
The cooperative also continues to enhance its wildfire mitigation plan. This year, Red Flag Warning procedures were added to the plan to better protect our communities and improve system reliability. We will continue to apply the highest safety standards and implement industry best practices for the ongoing safety and protection of our members and communities.
Smart Summer Rewards
United Power’s newest program rewards members for helping the cooperative avoid demand spikes on hot summer days. Enrolling in Smart Rewards will allow the cooperative to automatically adjust your thermostat on days when peak power surges. The slight adjustment to your thermostat may result in a modest savings on your monthly bills, and you will also receive a $25 bill credit for every summer you remain enrolled. Read more about the Smart Rewards program.
Expanding Access to EVs
Electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for nearly 10% of all new car sales in Colorado in 2022. United Power expanded its catalog of available programs this past year for members who own or have interest in purchasing an EV.
The cooperative’s first EV investment was its fast charger at the Coal Creek office. The network expanded to three with the Market Street Mart charger in Keenesburg in 2021 and the United Power office location in Carbon Valley in 2022. The newest addition to this network filled a 30-mile gap in available charging options between Thornton and Loveland.
The majority of EV owners, however, charge their vehicles at home using upgraded electrical outlets. United Power debuted both its new EV wiring rebate and United EV pilot program this past year. All members qualify for the cooperative’s wiring rebate, but members who enroll in United EV receive additional rebate dollars, at-home charging equipment, and a menu of rates and options for smart charging. More information about United Power’s EV programs.
Getting Back to In-Person
Health and safety precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic prevented United Power from gathering with our members for more than two years. We were finally able to welcome members back to an in-person Annual Meeting in 2022. Additionally, fairs and festivals resumed this summer, giving us a chance to connect with members in the communities they call home. We were also able to send local high school students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., where our youth delegate was nominated among her peers to represent Colorado on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Leadership Council.