Opinion | Letter: MPEI can work better together with other co-ops to control costs | SkyHiNews.com

Opinion | Letter: MPEI can work better together with other co-ops to control costs

It’s encouraging that the Mountain Parks Electric board of directors took the time to consider other views, and ultimately reverse their decision to raise electric rates.

Just as important is Mountain Parks Electric’s commitment to investigate strategies to address wholesale power costs. That will be key to avoiding future rate increases, because a majority of our electric cooperative’s expenses go to buy wholesale power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Tri-State has increased its rates 56 percent since 2005, and Mountain Parks must pass on those costs to its members in the form of higher electric bills. Most other co-ops in Colorado also buy power from Tri-State, and many are already pursuing a variety of strategies to try and reduce their wholesale power costs, such as batteries and other technologies to control peak demand, and local solar projects that deliver power at a lower cost than power from Tri-State. Other co-ops are considering leaving Tri-State to buy wholesale power at a cheaper price, or pursuing more flexible contracts with Tri-State so they can build more local renewable energy projects.

Controlling wholesale power costs won’t be easy, but Mountains Parks Electric members, directors, and staff can work better together with other co-ops in Colorado that face the same challenges. And some of the solutions would have additional benefits, such as local renewable energy development that would keep more of our co-op’s resources here in our community, and deliver a cleaner power supply than the mostly coal power from Tri-State.

Joe Smyth, Fraser

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