Recently, Sangre de Cristo Electric Association announced a new rate structure in the January 2022 issue of Colorado Country Life and in a Public Notice in the Dec. 30, 2021 issue of The Chaffee County Times as well as on SDCEA’s website. Normally, this would be a ho-hum event eliciting, at most, some grumbling from folks who object to any rate increase for their electricity.

However, in this case, this new rate structure should be concerning for any SDCEA member who currently has solar panels or is considering getting solar panels or simply supports renewable energy and for those who have made an effort to become more efficient users of electricity.

The notices are confusing to many and are deceptive. The bottom line is that SDCEA is proposing to institute rates that impose an expensive, discriminatory and possibly illegal financial burden on members who have solar panels and also encourages the profligate use of electricity.

It’s quite astounding that, at a time when most people recognize the need for energy efficiency, reduced consumption of electricity and an expanded role for renewable energy, SDCEA is proposing this regressive rate structure that penalizes solar energy and incentivizes increased and less efficient use of electricity.

This is contrary to the spirit (and word) of Colorado law and is even contrary to the direction in which its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, is moving.

Other letters to the news outlets in Chaffee County have and will explain the details of this situation so I encourage all SDCEA members to read those, read SDCEA’s notices (on their website and in Colorado Country Life) and talk to whomever you feel is knowledgeable about this subject.

I encourage you to contact SDCEA’s management and Board and our political representatives to express your opinions.

Eric Simons

Rural Chaffee County

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