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Dear Editor

Recently Tri-State Generation, the wholesale provider of electricity to Sangre de Christo Electric Association (SDCEA), reduced its rates to SDCEA.  It is a result of Tri-State generating more of its power from renewables.  For those unaware, renewables, solar, wind, and hydropower are cheaper than traditional sources of power like coal and natural gas.  Rather than pass that cost reduction to the member of SDCEA, they have chosen to raise rates.  Basically, they are pocketing the savings.

But it gets worse; they have chosen to specifically target certain customers of SDCEA with higher rates while giving breaks, in some cases big reductions in the cost of energy.  They have targeted those customers who do not use much power and those with solar systems; net-metered customers.  And who gets the windfall?  Large non-residential consumers of power and residential customers who use a lot of power, that’s who wins.  The way it works is the more you use, the less you pay.  Conversely, the less you use, the more you pay.  Some customers who use very little power may see bills at certain times of the year more than double or triple under the current fee structure.

Using the calculation tools provided by SDCEA, I calculate that at certain months of the year my bill could be 40 to 50 percent higher than under the current fee structure.  The reason is I made the mistake of building a very energy-efficient home and adding a solar system.

The board of SDCEA is on the wrong track. They should be following the direction laid out by other member Co-ops like La Plata, Kit Carson, Montrose, United, and CORE.  They are working to reduce their customer’s rates at the same time switching to renewables.  Those and more Co-ops have decided to break from Tri-State and purchase their power on the open wholesale market or from other energy providers at greatly reduced rates. Instead, the board of SDCEA has decided to double down, stick with Tri-State and their expensive power at the expense of its customer/members.

I had heard one of the executives of SDCEA say the new rate structure will balance the bills between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  So if you have a small home or apartment and use little power, you must be a “have” because your bill is going up.  If you have a big home that consumes lots of power, you must be a “have-not’ as your bill is going down.  I call that reverse Robin Hood.

But it’s not too late to stop this madness.  We need to call the board at SDCEA and let them know this is not what we want.  If their costs are going down, so should ours, everyone.

Doug Welch
Nathrop, CO