La Plata Electric Association further explores Tri-State buy-out
La Plata Electric Association further explores Tri-State buy-out
Date Published

La Plata Electric Association further explores Tri-State buy-out

LPEA Board to formally request buy-out number to determine impact to members

DURANGO, Colo. – Following months of study and discussion, the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors has determined to put forth a formal request to power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission to learn the possible cost for the cooperative to buy-out of its contract with Tri-State.

Tri-State, a generation cooperative with 43-member electric cooperatives, supplies 95 percent of LPEA’s electricity under a long-term contract, which extends through 2050. The long-term contracts with all the distribution cooperatives were put in place to manage development of generation facilities and guarantee enough electricity generation available for all distribution cooperatives supported by Tri-State.

“The request for this number is the next step in our exploration for meeting our members’ needs and LPEA’s Strategic Statement of reducing our carbon by 50 percent from 2018 levels while controlling costs to our cooperative,” said LPEA CEO Mike Dreyspring. “As we have been doing, we’re taking a look at this slowly and prudently – doing what is best for our membership, which includes reliability, cost and environmental responsibility.”

Discussion of “buying out” of the Tri-State contract has come to the forefront in recent years with former Tri-State co-op member Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC), located in Taos, N.M., taking the step and pursuing more renewable energy for its members locally and on the open market. Kit Carson’s buy-out number was $37 million, but KCEC is considerably smaller than LPEA, so the price for LPEA is expected to be more significant.

“But it’s not known,” said Dreyspring. “Until they can start giving us some numbers, we can’t begin to determine what it is going to cost our membership both for a buy-out and to purchase electricity for our members' needs from other sources.”

LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative celebrating 80 years in 2019, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 43,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.