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Co-op Reps Meet with House Transportation & Energy Committee

March 8, 2013

Representatives of Colorado’s public power sector met with the House Transportation & Energy Committee yesterday to provide an overview of the operations and characteristics of electric co-ops and municipal utilities. The informational meeting was set up at the request of Rep. Max Tyler, Chairman of the Committee. CREA’s Executive Director, Kent Singer, was joined by Tri-State’s Senior Manager of Government Relations, Dave Lock, as well as Dan Hodges, Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities.

Following presentations by the utility representatives, members of the Committee and Chairman Tyler asked a number of questions regarding our operations. Chairman Tyler asked me whether co-ops have considered mergers to consolidate functions and achieve efficiencies. I responded that while mergers have been considered from time to time, each co-op is well-established in its community and has its own identity. Rep. Lee asked whether there are existing co-op programs for funding member-owner energy efficiency upgrades and I told him that the RUS has such a program in the works and that our co-ops encourage energy efficiency and provide incentives for various energy-saving projects. We also discussed the CREA EnergyWise Project and how it will be implemented.

Dave Lock fielded a number of questions from the committee with respect to Tri-State’s resource planning in the years ahead and its need for additional transmission capacity. Dave talked about the San Luis Valley project and the difficulties in siting high voltage transmission in Colorado. He also gave the committee an excellent overview of the Tri-State system and its balanced resource portfolio.

I think we were successful in explaining the “co-op difference” to the committee and how legislative policies can impact the rates of those member-owners at the end of the line. We appreciate the time given to us by the Committee and thank Chairman Tyler for allowing us to make our presentation.

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