Energy, Utilities & Water  May 3, 2022

United Power continues plans to leave Tri-State

BRIGHTON — United Power intends to continue its plans to leave the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which supplies 95% of its power. The cooperative utility initially announced plans to leave in December of 2021. 

Brighton-based United Power, which serves 900 square miles of Northern Colorado, filed a non-conditional notice of intent to withdraw from Tri-State with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 29. The new notice changes the intended departure date from Jan. 1, 2024, to May 1, 2024. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a hearing today to determine an exit fee for United Power. Previous calculations indicated Tri-State could charge United Power up to $1.6 billion to leave. A judgment on new exit fees is expected by the end of the summer.

United Power has also issued a request for proposals from energy wholesalers to take over providing energy to the cooperative. The energy provider would need to provide 600 megawatts of power at peak times and retail sales of 3,000 gigawatt-hours of power.

United Power pointed to above-market electricity rates and a lack of renewable sources as reasons behind its planned departure. United Power’s agreement with Tri-State mandates the cooperative buy 95% of its energy from Tri-State, something that United wants to change in order to secure more power more rapidly from renewable sources.

United Power president and CEO Mark Gabriel affirmed the cooperative’s board believes the departure from Tri-State is in the best interest of consumers.

“We expect this will bring economic benefits and lower rates to our communities, along with greater flexibility to generate power closer to home,” Gabriel said in a statement.

Tri-State recently filed a settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow some utilities it has partnered with to source up to 50% of their own electricity. The San Miguel Power Association, La Plata Electric Association and Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association all will be able to self-source more of their power. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and Delta-Montrose Electric Association have also left Tri-State.

Tri-State has affirmed plans to reduce its reliance on certain nonrenewable energy sources and predicts that 50% of the energy it produces will come from renewable sources by 2024. Tri-State has also decreased the rates it charges for energy by 4% over 2021.

Tri-State is opposed to United Power leaving, arguing it would leave smaller utilities in the lurch and force them to cover more of the infrastructure costs of the wholesaler. Tri-State is a cooperative energy wholesaler that serves utilities across four states. 

United Power is one of the largest utilities in Colorado, serving more than 100,000 meters. The cooperative serves customers in areas north of the Denver metro area from Erie to Keenesburg, as well as rural areas west of Golden.

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.

BRIGHTON — United Power intends to continue its plans to leave the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which supplies 95% of its power. The cooperative utility initially announced plans to leave in December of 2021. 

Brighton-based United Power, which serves 900 square miles of Northern Colorado, filed a non-conditional notice of intent to withdraw from Tri-State with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 29. The new notice changes the intended departure date from Jan. 1, 2024, to May 1, 2024. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a hearing today to determine an exit fee for United Power. Previous calculations indicated Tri-State…

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