Having just read Thursday’s El Defensor Chieftain and the article, Guzman Energy awarded contract: I think it’s important to clarify a few issues.

Your Co-op board on July 10 supported Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s proposal to, in the future, be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, FERC. Formally there has been little public regulation of Tri-State, as it’s supposedly regulated by the 43 Co-op boards. However, the situation has changed, as DeltaMontrose Electric Co-op in Colorado has elected to follow Kit Carson Co-op’s lead, to buy out their Tri-State contract so that they can pursue investing in local less expensive renewable energy and buy power off the open market, where energy is about 30 percent less than what Tri-State charges its Co-op members.

Plus, DMEC will be independent in its ability to decided it’s future, and installing high speed broadband as it installs renewable solar and judo power. However Tri-State has been quoting DMEC a very high buyout figure, so DMEC has asked the Colorado Public Utility Commission to hear the case. Having the PUC decide a fair buyout cost has also been strongly supported by the Colorado legislators, particularly the rural legislators. And our own Public Regulation Commission, PRC is about to get involved in Tri-State rates. This is the real reason Tri-State now wants to be regulated by FERC, despite a $1.3 million cost to join FERC, which of course will be passed onto us Co-op members.

While United Co-op, the largest and fastest growing of the 43 Co-op’s, La Plata Co-op and DMEC voted against the change in regulation, our SEC board joined with the other 39 Co-op’s to allow Tri-State to do an end game run.

The point is, our SEC board continues to back expensive, dirty ( another record breaker heat day, today) coal produced Tri-State electricity. Fortunately Mayor Bhasker understands, that by contracting with Guzman, the city can enjoy electrical power savings.

This of course will mean that the remaining SEC co-op members electric bills will increase, including mine, but that’s already in the works.

As an aside, last month, Guzman offered to buyout Tri-State’s expensive, dirty coal plants. The L.A. Times reported, Tri-State to be the nation’s third dirtiest producer of electricity.

Guzman would help finance a transition to less expensive, clean, wind and solar. However Tri-State did not accept the offer and thus any real chance of lowering our electrical power cost in the near future went out the proverbial window.

Ward McCartney, Belen