United Power filed a non-conditional Notice of Intent to Withdraw from our power supplier in compliance with a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling. This changes our previously announced Tri-State exit date of Jan. 1, 2024 to May 1, 2024.
United Power hosted a hybrid Annual Meeting on April 13, allowing members to gather in person for the first time since 2019. The cooperative was pleased to return to an in-person format this year. Nearly 450 members and guests attended the meeting either in person or online. The meeting included a video recap highlighting the cooperative’s accomplishments over the last year, an annual financial report, and the certification of the director election.
Voting in the director election was conducted via mail-in and electronic balloting. The cooperative introduced electronic balloting this year to provide members with a fast, secure and convenient way to submit ballots and avoid delays in mail handling. More than 6,000 member ballots were cast in the election. East District incumbent, Elizabeth “Beth” Martin, retained her seat, receiving 2,728 votes. Steven “Steve” Douglas received 2,536 votes and Naptali A. Lucks received 700 votes in the race for the East District. Ursula J. Morgan, West District, and Keith Alquist, South District, ran unopposed and will retain their seats with 5,341 and 5,337 votes, respectively.
Ursula J. Morgan, Board Chairman and Mark A. Gabriel, President and CEO, summarized the cooperative’s performance in 2021 with a video presentation. The cooperative surpassed 100,000 meter connections, improved operational efficiencies, and implemented several innovative projects all in the last year.
The addition of more than 4,600 new meters pushed United Power beyond 100,000 meters early last summer. It became just the 31st electric cooperative nationwide to surpass this mark and only the second in Colorado. While more meters were being added, the operations team conducted targeted maintenance, which reduced outage times to nearly half the national average.
United Power also expanded its electric vehicle charging network, installed a diesel generator in Gilpin County, and deployed its first hybrid bucket truck. The cooperative’s second charging station at the Market Street Mart in Keenesburg filled a gap in available charging infrastructure along Interstate 76. The generator project provided an outage solution and emergency backup to members located at the ends of the co-op’s lines where it can be difficult to restore power quickly due to isolation and mountain terrain.
Most significantly, United Power announced its intentions to pursue a change in its wholesale power supplier effective January 2024. Wholesale power costs account for approximately 75% of member rates and attempts to negotiate the cooperative’s existing contract have failed. Based on the broader economic landscape, leadership believes it is in the best interest of members to find an alternate supplier moving forward.
“This was not a decision that was reached without exhaustive research and deliberation,” said Morgan. “We considered the impact on rates and reliability, as well as the flexibility of our power supply. The Board believes this is the right direction for our cooperative.”
The cost of power under the current contract is nearly 20-25% higher than market levels. The availability of self-generation and storage options combined with existing contract limitations no longer meet the needs of United Power members.
“Our goal is to provide both lower-cost power and more options for our members,” Gabriel said. “We are confident we can craft a new future for our members, and we are excited to bring the opportunities to you.”
United Power anticipates far-reaching change and innovation to come to the electric utility industry in the years ahead. One of the cooperative’s biggest accomplishments last year was developing Our Cooperative Roadmap, a long-term action plan to maintain United Power’s strength and competitiveness in the evolving industry.
“What does the future look like for United Power?” Gabriel asked. “We need to continue to provide a robust network so that every member behind every meter has every possible option and opportunity to engage in the way they desire. Bottom line: we need to do this while ensuring high quality, high reliability, and reasonably priced power.”
Keith Alquist, United Power’s Board Treasurer, presented the cooperative’s financials and reported the cooperative is in good fiscal shape. The finance team at United Power continues to receive compliments from auditors for their professionalism, completeness and accuracy in preparing financial statements at year-end and on a monthly basis.
Videos and information presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting, including the cooperative’s 2021 Annual Report, are available here.