“The wheels on the bus go round and round!” While the government was created to protect its citizens with laws and regulations, sometimes the government can create more burdens. This is the case that Midwest Electric and the other 42 members of Tri-State Generation & Transmission are dealing with today. In recent months, there has been a push by the Colorado Legislative and Executive Branches as well as the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to determine if the CPUC should be able to regulate Tri-State’s wholesale rates, electric generation resources and other items of Tri-State.
Today Tri-State has one board director from each member coop/Public Power District that sits on the Board and makes decisions such as resource planning, annual budgets and rate designs for their 43 members in four states. If the State of Colorado and the CPUC gets their way, they would regulate Tri-State as they do with the Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) and help establish rates for their customers. There is a reason why the IOU’s are regulated. The IOU’s are a for-profit industry who are owned by stockholders and ran for the profit of the stockholders. The CPUC represents the IOU’s customers who have no seat on the board or a voice in any decisions.
As a cooperative, Tri-State and Midwest Electric have board directors that are also
members and owners of the company. We are a non-profit organization and the margins that are produced are allocated as patronage capital back to member/owners of the coop and retired in future years. We are self-governed and set rates where everyone is treated equally.
Because Colorado believes it can control the destiny of Tri-State better than the Board, this month Tri-State filed with Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) to allow them regulatory oversite of Tri-State and their members. At least with FERC regulating Tri-State, Nebraska as well as Wyoming and New Mexico will have a voice in rate decisions. With CPUC making the rules we would not even get a seat at the table. How do I know this? Four Nebraska systems tried to intervene in a hearing with the CPUC/Tri-State and a coop in Colorado and we were promptly declined to have our voice heard at the hearing.
So, as the wheels on this bus go round and round, you can bet Midwest will keep up the fight and give you a seat at the table!
*Midwest Electric is an equal opportunity provider and employer.*