Our local electric cooperative, Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, is a member of the regional cooperative Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Cooperatives are meant to be governed by their members, and as such, their practices should be transparent.
HB21-1131: Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements- Transparency and Democracy has been introduced in the current Colorado Legislative session. This bill will help ensure that Tri-State Generation and Transmission operates with transparency and accountability to their members.
A nondisclosure agreement between SDCEA and Tri-State prohibits SDCEA from disclosing any information about their cost agreements. This makes it difficult for SDCEA members to work with our coop on renewable energy projects.
For example, our BV Solar Share group couldn’t set parameters for a community solar project because we were prohibited from knowing any cost information about the project.
Also, according to the Center For The New Energy Economy, rural cooperative representatives to Tri-State meetings must currently vote in the best interests of Tri-State, even if those interests are counter to their rural cooperative members’ needs. https://cutt.ly/pzCzJps (Pg. 10)
Provisions of HB21-1131 include:
• Eliminates an exemption to current transparency laws for electric co-ops with fewer than 25,000 members (small cooperatives like SDCEA are not required to disclose to their members how their rates are set)
• Makes current electric coop governance and transparency laws applicable to Generation and Transmission companies (like Tri-State).
• Requires electric coops to post information about their rates and net metering requirements to their websites, and to make financial audits available to members on request.
• Requires a coop to adopt written policies concerning the compensation of board members and disclosures of conflicts of interest for board members.
• Ensures that rural cooperative board members (SDCEA) are not required to give priority loyalty to their regional Generation and Transmission company (Tri-State) above their duty to their cooperative.
• Provides for coops to allow members to vote by secure electronic means.
This law should help assure that Tri-State serves the needs of our local electric coop instead of the other way around, so that SDCEA can be freer to pursue renewable energy and clean energy technologies locally.
Please write our state representative Ron Hanks at Ron.Hanks.firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to support this bill.