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The Bond Buyer:

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, one of the nation’s largest electric cooperatives, is mapping a cleaner future while facing a loss of key members.

Seven of Colorado-based Tri-State’s 42 member utilities are considering an exit in pursuit of more affordable power sources, greater flexibility and less reliance on coal. Currently, members are required to buy 95% of their electricity from Tri-State.

In November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, commonly known as FERC, accepted Tri-State’s revision of the terms under which members may leave the association, which is headquartered in Westminster, Colorado.

Co-ops seeking an exit learned that the fees would be steep. In Colorado, Brighton-based United Power would be required to pay $1.5 billion while Durango-based La Plata Electric Association would have to pay $449 million.

By comparison, the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, in Taos, New Mexico, was allowed to leave for $37 million in 2019. Delta-Montrose Electric Association parted ways with Tri-State after paying $136.5 million in 2020.

[Richard Williamson]

More: Exit fees steep for electric co-ops seeking cleaner power

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