Motion to Intervene rebukes Tri-State fixed cost recovery fee in support of lower rates and local, renewable energy that supports our economy

February 1, 2018- Durango, Colorado – Two area non-profit organizations have filed a motion to intervene asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to, once again, reject a fixed cost recovery fee proposed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission. In 2016, FERC rejected a petition by Tri-State to impose a fixed fee on its member cooperatives when they use locally produced energy. Tri-State has asked FERC to reconsider this decision.

Local First and the San Juan Citizens Alliance submitted a motion to intervene on Tuesday, January 30th, demonstrating that Tri-State’s request for reconsideration is not in the “best interests of residents and businesses of southwest Colorado.” The motion demonstrates that if FERC grants the Tri-State reconsideration, it would essentially make it impossible for local, renewable energy to compete with Tri-State’s costs, maintaining the company’s monopoly.

“Tri-State’s fixed cost recovery fee runs counter to previous FERC rulings and could make it impossible for local, renewable energy generators to compete in the marketplace,” said Monique DiGiorgio, Managing Director of Local First.

If FERC denies the Tri-State petition, it will provide an opportunity for southwest Colorado to have lower prices through locally produced renewable energy, and keep up to $70 million re-circulating in the local economy.

“Local First submitted this filing because ordinary citizens and businesses are an under-represented voice in the current petition for rehearing,” said Ted Wright, Board Member of Local First. “The motion sends a clear message to FERC that decisions made in Washington, D.C. will dramatically affect us 2,000 miles away in rural Colorado.”

“Tri-State is the second most carbon-polluting utility in the nation, due to its high reliance on coal burning power plants,” said Mark Pearson, Executive Director of the San Juan Citizens Alliance. “If Tri-State prevails in imposing this ‘Tri-State Tax’, our community will be prevented from investing in local, renewable electric generation and will be forced to rely on Tri-State’s dirty power.”

Tri-State produces power for 43 rural electric cooperatives in the West, including La Plata Electric Association. Each cooperative is required to purchase 95% of their power from Tri-State. In 2015, Tri-State’s 5% cap on its cooperatives’ local generation was preempted by federal law. Following that ruling, Tri-State petitioned to impose a fixed cost recovery fee on locally generated energy. FERC rejected the petition, and Tri-State has now asked FERC to reconsider.