workers doing powerlines installations

Annual Meeting Telephone Town Hall Questions

“How can MVEA Co-op minimize it’s expenditures on “green” energy production since it is not cost effective and is not able to provide consistent adequate electrical power?”; “MVEA is heavily pursuing solar and wind power. It was mentioned in an MVEA magazine that members want MVEA to go this direction. However, I never recall seeing a survey or vote regarding this. Is this decision based on financial analysis (in which case, where can we see this) or on the opinions of a few outspoken members?”; “Please provide an update on Tri-State’s progress toward their Responsible Energy Plan.”

Tri-State Generation and Transmission is MVEA’s wholesale power supplier. As such, any change to their power generation portfolio to meet the requirements of regulatory policy is a shared experience.

In January, Tri-State celebrated the year anniversary of announcing their Responsible Energy Plan. “When we announced our REP with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis last January at the Colorado Capitol, we knew that it would be a difficult, but achievable effort to transform Tri-State into a 21st century cooperative,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO. “We accomplished a great deal in 2020, but we have more work to do in the coming years.”

Renewable energy, gride resiliency, and reliability are hot topics that people feel very strongly about. For regular readers of Colorado Country Life magazine, this is a familiar topic. Since 2019, we have discussed Colorado’s rapidly evolving energy landscape: large-scale policy change driven by the decreasing cost of renewable energy, increasing support for an energy portfolio change by Colorado’s elected officials, the passing of House Bill 19-1261 “A Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution,” and the announcement by Tri-State, MVEA’s wholesale power supplier, to create a Responsible Energy Plan to meet regulatory demands. The changes started in 2019 were rapid, sweeping, and, at times, surprising.

We regularly receive questions and feedback from members who would like to see a more diverse energy mix adopted and a step back from the large-scale push towards renewable energy as a one-size-fits-all approach. They ask what they can do to slow or reverse the changes.

Transversely, we also regularly receive questions and feedback from members who support the energy landscape changes to a more robust renewable portfolio. “Keep adding more renewables to your portfolio,” is just as common a sentiment as the other perspective.

In recent years, power generation portfolio changes, that include significant carbon-reduction regulations, have been driven by voter demand and backed by legislative policy. And, the carbon-reduction regulations rely heavily on generation portfolio changes by the energy sector.

Whether you support or oppose the industry changes, we encourage all MVEA members to visit the Responsible Energy Plan page to learn more about Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan. Members may also find the following websites helpful:

“My energy costs are always less than the grid access fee. Can I get my grid access fee reduced?”; “How is the grid access fee applicable to my account?”; “Can the monthly association fees be based on house occupancy versus per home? As a disabled veteran I use very little of the amenities and live alone.”

As an electric cooperative, MVEA’s rates and structure are influenced by the principle that all members shall pay an equitable and reasonable investment back into the cooperative to maintain a sound financial position and reliable services. For a little over $1 per day, the grid access charge ensures each member is contributing to operating, maintaining and improving MVEA’s system for existing and future members alike.

Many services that we use in our homes or businesses have some form of a monthly charge to help cover the cost of providing the service, the infrastructure, and the support of the service. It might be called a service charge, basic charge, fixed charge or monthly minimum charge. At MVEA, we call it a grid access charge, and it offsets the cost to operate and maintain our system and to ensure our service is available to all members at the flip of a switch, independent of their monthly energy use.

What does it help offset? MVEA’s grid access charge helps offset many of the regulatory and business requirements associated with the costs of operating an electric cooperative and providing a service: the operation, repair and maintenance of MVEA’s entire system of lines (including materials), meter testing, pole inspection, tree-trimming, interest, depreciation, and property tax expenses, as well as insurance. These expenses are relatively fixed; they do not vary according to your electricity use. The advantage of having fixed costs covered by fixed charges is the ability to maintain a sound financial position and reliable services that are not influenced by fluctuating kilowatt-hour sales.