Electric rates remain stable

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Two electricity providers in Northwest Colorado, Tri-State Generation and Transmission and the Yampa Valley Electric Association, announced that electric rates will likely remain stable in the year 2000.

Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA), a direct electric provider for residents in Northwest Colorado and Southern Wyoming, charges residential customers 6.6 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity used, the same price customers have paid since 1991.

Of that price, about 2 cents per kilowatt hour are used for operations and maintenance of YVEA, Manager of Consumer Accounts Jim Chappell said.

A study done twice each year by the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities showed there are only two cooperatives in Colorado with lower rates than YVEA.

"We're even cheaper than Public Service Company of Colorado," Chappell said. "Our rates are highly competitive not only across the state, but nationally, also."

The study takes an average rate of 500 kilowatts per hour of usage. For YVEA that would mean a cost of $36.35, $19.06 below the highest rate in the state and $6.31 below the average rate.

Chappell believes customers will have the same rate in 2000. The Board of Directors of YVEA met this month to discuss the budget and will meet in January to consider the rate structure.

"It appears YVEA rates will remain stable for next year, also," he said. "We work extremely hard to maintain stable rates."

YVEA serves more than 21,000 electric meters in its distribution territory. It purchases power from Public Service Company of Colorado and the Western Area Power Administration. It does not purchase power directly from Tri-State, but because Public Service Company of Colorado does, there is an indirect link.

Companies who purchase power from Tri-State, such as White River Electric Company in Meeker, will have no increase in rates. Tri-State announced earlier this month its rates would remain stable at 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Tri-State has not increased its rates in 15 years. Customers have seen a 23 percent decrease in the price of electricity since 1987.

"I think it's a reflection on how the company is run and the resources we have and use. It's something to be really proud of," Tri-State spokesman Jim Van Someren said.

The rate charged by Tri-State is comparable to the rate in 1980.

"When you factor in inflation and the cost of doing business, almost 20 years later, we're still at the same rate," Van Someren said. "That means we're streamlining operations and operating more efficiently."

Tri-State operates two coal-fired power plants in Colorado the 1,264-megawatt Craig Station and the 100-megawatt Nucla Station in Nucla, Colo. The two plants provide power to 32 rural electric cooperatives which collectively serve about 700,000 customers in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

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