Message From United Power's President & CEO
A Letter to Members
At United Power we continue with our sole focus of bringing power to our members at the greatest value.
During the past several years we have attempted to work with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, our power supplier, toward this end. Unfortunately, our G&T has been unwilling to make any changes in the pursuit of this goal, saddling United Power with some of the highest cost, carbon intensive power in the State of Colorado.
We have been unsuccessful in negotiating a revised contract with our G&T that would have allowed us to lower costs, expand member options, bring lower carbon generation and provide for a new future. Therefore, as of December 14, 2021 we have formally filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) our intent to withdraw from Tri-State effective January 1, 2024. The Board of Directors is strongly in the support of this action.
During my nine months as your President and Chief Executive Officer, I have presented our power supplier with numerous offers of settlement that would have continued our membership relationship while also allowing us to procure lower cost, cleaner power options. Despite many meetings and requests, the G&T has been mute on our offers and instead reacted through the legal system. I have agreed on at least two occasions to mediation with no response.
Instead of working with us in the pursuit of lower-cost, cleaner options, Tri-State has resisted these developments. Tri-State recently purchased additional coal generation, is limiting our members’ ability to add more carbon free generation and is penalizing additional storage on our system. Tri- State also offers non-members preferable transmission rates over those of us who have invested in their system for decades.
United Power has been a leader in the deployment of innovative new technologies and in the integration of renewable energy resources. Currently United Power has 84 megawatts of renewable generation on its system including 46 megawatts of utility scale solar, Colorado’s largest battery storage project, and more than 6,800 rooftop systems. Tri-State’s policies include penalties if a utility exceeds 5% of generation other than from the G&T.
United Power represents nearly 20% of the G&T’s annual revenue and is more than twice the size of the next largest cooperative. United Power joins Delta Montrose Electric Association and Kit Carson who have exited the G&T in the last five years. At least six other cooperatives are currently considering a potential exit.
United Power will be seeking alternative power supply and the use of transmission as outlined by FERC as part of Open Access Transmission Tariffs. Prior to January 1, 2024, United Power will work with other power suppliers and prepare for the transition from our G&T.
We do not take this decision lightly. Please feel free to reach out to me and other members of the United Power staff with any questions.