An electric cooperative wrangling with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association over local control and getting off coal has issued a public pronouncement that it and fellow cooperatives still need the power supplier. Just not in the current form.
Brighton-based United Power, which serves about 300,000 people along Colorado’s bustling Front Range, is Tri-State’s largest member in its four-state territory. United Power is also one of Tri-State’s most vocal critics. It has filed a lawsuit as well as complaints with state and federal regulators. It is challenging proposed fees for canceling contracts with Tri-State.
Despite the conflicts, United Power CEO and President Mark Gabriel said members need a strong Tri-State as regional power markets become more open and the move to more renewable energy continues. Gabriel, an industry veteran who took the helm at United Power in February, said it’s important to be open about what’s going on between the cooperative and Tri-State.
“These are both societal and industry changes that impact everyone,” Gabriel said.
The clashes between Tri-State, a wholesale power provider headquartered in Westminster, and its members are being watched around the country because they encapsulate struggles playing out across the shifting energy landscape.
“Everybody everywhere is trying to manage the energy transition,” said Seth Feaster, an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.