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Co-ops Testify Against H.B. 13-1216

February 22, 2013

Several electric co-op representatives testified in opposition to H.B. 13-1216 during a hearing on the bill in the House Transportation and Energy Committee yesterday. Geoff Hier (CREA’s Director of Government Relations) joined Brad Gaskill (CEO, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association) and Troy Whitmore and Jerry Marizza of United Power in expressing concerns about the added costs to consumers that would result if the bill passed.

As introduced, H.B. 13-1216 requires co-ops and municipal utilities to generate 1% of their electricity from distributed generation by the year 2020. The bill amends the renewable portfolio standard law to say that of the 10% requirement for co-ops, 1% must come from “retail distributed generation.” The proponents of the bill are developers of small wind projects who want the legislature to require co-ops to subsidize small wind installations.

The bill as introduced also requires co-ops and municipal utilities to provide rebates to their consumers of $2/watt for the installation of wind and solar generating facilities up to a maximum of 75 kilowatts. This means that co-ops would have to pay their member-owners up to $150,000 per project until they reach the 1% threshold. Under this provision, co-ops would have to spend millions of dollars on rebates for these generating sources. Further, the bill as introduced more than doubled the net metering requirements for co-ops and municipal utilities. 

Although the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Crisanta Duran, has drafted an amendment to H.B. 13-1216 that reduces the rebate amount and the net metering requirements, CREA is still opposed to the bill because it requires some co-op member-owners to subsidize other member-owners who can afford the upfront costs of wind and solar generating facilities. We are glad that the bill sponsor asked that no action be taken on the bill, and that she met with us after the hearing and thanked us for our testimony. We will continue to monitor the bill to protect the pocketbooks of co-op member-owners.

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