YVEA forum sparks debate

Utility candidates disagree about rate structure, conflicts of interest


YVEA voting process

Nine people constitute the Yampa Valley Electric Association Board of Directors, with three seats up for election each year at the utility's annual meeting. This year's annual meeting is June 20 in Hayden. Mail-in ballots are being sent to association members this week, so it is not necessary to attend the meeting to vote. Ballots must be signed and returned by the association member named on the account, or they will be invalidated. Ballots are due by 5 p.m. June 19 at the YVEA office on 10th Street in Steamboat Springs.

The seats up for election this year are in District 1, which covers the area served in Wyoming and parts of northern Moffat and Routt counties, District 8 in Steamboat Springs and District 9 in South Routt.

YVEA voting tips

- Vote for candidates in all districts.

- Place signed ballot in YVEA's ballot envelope.

- The envelope must be signed by the person whose name is on the label (if two names are on the label, one of the named signatures is required).

- Show your title if you are voting for a business or organization.

- Lost ballots may be replaced by contacting YVEA at 871-2231.

— Stark differences about Yampa Valley Electric Association's roles and rate structure emerged during a Wednesday night forum featuring candidates for the utility's board of directors.

The discussion boiled down to differences about whether YVEA's primary concern should be to achieve the lowest rates possible and whether it should engage in energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives that could cost money and move the electric cooperative away from its traditional modus operandi.

Susan Holland and Megan Moore-Kemp are pushing for a new direction for YVEA. They are challenging Scott McGill for YVEA's District 8 seat representing Steamboat Springs and Charles Perry for a District 9 representing South Routt, respectively. The District 1 seat, which covers the area served in Wyoming and parts of northern Routt and Moffat counties, is uncontested.

Holland and Moore-Kemp have combined their campaigns and are focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Holland said the lowest rates possible should not be YVEA's top concern. Holland said that although rates are low now, factors such as fossil fuel depletion could lead to big increases in the future - a risk YVEA could protect itself against by investing in renewables.

"I think it's really essential that we start thinking long-term," Holland said. "I think we're artificially holding rates low at this time. : My hope is that we get creative about this because we're going to see higher rates no matter what."

Noting that he has solar panels on his home, McGill said no current board members are opposed to renewable energy.

"It may be a question of how fast we move and who pays for what," he said.

McGill said YVEA traditionally has bought electricity from suppliers - currently Xcel Energy - and then sold it to association members. He said Holland's ideas would require a major shift in operations that he doesn't think is appropriate.

"We need to be proceeding on all that stuff as a nation," McGill said. "I don't think, as a cooperative, we should. We aren't in the generation business."

McGill also accused Holland, owner of solar electric design and installation company Emerald Mountain Energy, of a conflict of interest because she is promoting rebates for customers who install solar systems. Holland said she doesn't think she has a conflict of interest and that her reasons for running for the board go beyond her professional interest and her interest in representing her customers.

YVEA General Manager Larry Covillo said he doesn't think Holland has a conflict of interest.

"Yes, she sells solar systems," he said. "But does she sell them to the association? No. That's the distinction."

The issue of solar rebates, however, would present a problem, Covillo said.

"If the board did that, she would have to step down," Covillo.

Moore-Kemp acknowledged that expanding YVEA's energy efficiency programs would cost money, but she argued that it was a worthy investment because it would help customers reduce their rates and help delay capital expansions.

"A little can really go a long way," Moore-Kemp said. "Now is the time to invest strategically in the future of this co-op."

Moore-Kemp noted that Holy Cross Energy, which provides electricity in the Aspen and Vail areas, has only slightly higher rates while offering extensive energy efficiency programs. Among its programs, Holy Cross Energy generates electricity from a wind farm in eastern Colorado and offers customers rebates for purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

McGill likened Holland's and Moore-Kemp's ideas to "social engineering."

"I think it's a question of freedom of choice and money," he said. "The question is, do you want to spend other people's money? I guess I feel people should pay their own money and get their own benefit rather than I pay for you to do it."

McGill also differed with Holland on the issue of YVEA's rate structure. Holland said she would be in favor of a "creative rate design" such as charging people more for electricity during peak hours.

"We can give them a choice," Holland said. "They don't have to use off-peak power, but if they do, they get cheaper power."

McGill said he favored one standard rate for each kilowatt-hour, no matter how much electricity a customer uses.

"I don't think (our job) is to do social engineering and telling people, 'Oh, you shouldn't be running your dishwasher this time of day,'" McGill said. "Frankly, if you want to burn your lights all night, that's your decision."

Perry was ill and unable to attend Wednesday's forum. YVEA spokesman Jim Chappell read on Perry's behalf a letter Perry wrote that was published in the Steamboat Pilot & Today (read the letter at www.steamboatpilot.com).

"Among those facilitators/ranchers/farmers who circulated on horseback through our service area and accepted, cajoled, loaned or took in trade a value equal to the $5 (gold) original membership certificates was my grandfather," Perry wrote. "Maybe I am part of the 'old boys club.' Those 'old boys' gave us a power supply contract with the contractual flexibility to meet the unknown future economic and political conditions of today."


John Kinkaid 7 years, 10 months ago

I, for one, am tired of the "global warming" scam. The earth hasn't been warming for a few years now and as a result people are now being blamed for "climate change".

Current coal-fired power plant emissions standards are more than sufficient for clean air and water. Coal is inexpensive and the U.S. has plenty of it.

Obama's cap and trade (cap and tax) for carbon emissions is another scam.

The bottom line is paying more for energy. A lot more. 5 times more? The whole supply chain will have to add on their increased energy costs on to the products that we buy. If your house is all electric good luck with that.

Why should we have to pay huge increases for power generated by new nuclear power plants, when we can build and run clean coal-fired power plants for a fraction of the cost?

"Climate change" created by human activity is a scientific falsehood and a political scam.

Demand power rates or time of day rates will create massive inconviences. National thermostat settings in our future?


lonelyone 7 years, 10 months ago

Why is this just making it to the Craig paper? I read this last week in the Steamboat Today!


jeff corriveau 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree with you. This whole global warming thing is a bunch of bunk, perpetrated by Al Gore and friends. Ms Holldand and Ms. Moore-Kemp should apply some of their own "business principles" and give their customer the best product at the lowest price. And if anyone doesn't think that owning a business selling solar panels ISN"T a conflict with being on this board, you better think again. I for one would simply ask her to recuse from any vote that effected her business, and that would be almost all of them. I'm not a big supporter of the current board, for various reasons, but feel that the "lesser of evils" choice applies here. I'm going with the incumbents.


Sumarjn 7 years, 10 months ago

Global Warmin is not a scam. It is real. If you choose to ignore percieved technical reasons for political slant, then at least educate yourself on sea levels through the various mediums above the 5th grade level.

Another tip: The world is not flat.


jeff corriveau 7 years, 10 months ago

Then, please explain to all of us why over 500 academics from all over the world have stated that it is not "real" and that it has been used to foster a very liberal political/economic agenda. You see, some of us, who know how to spell "warming" with a g, have in fact educated ourselves fairly well


Blondi 7 years, 10 months ago


Global Warming - The Greatest Scam in History, I don't think anyone can explain it any better than this man - Meteorologist John Coleman, who is the founder of the Weather Channel.
Sumarjn please take some time out of your most educated well informed life and listen to this video.


Sumarjn 7 years, 10 months ago

Global warmin(g) has basic conclusions that have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including ALL of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

There are well over 500 academics' who would proclaim that there is no God.

The same science that enhances all of our lives is the same science that has been peer reviewed on global warming. The data of global warming is real. While this warming will not change current lifestyles per se, it will be of grave concern for your children's children.

Had I not presented a typo, silentman would not be quite so wordy? If one wants to examine the Weather Channel more closely, I believe you would find that dreaded political slant that all too often masks reality.


Sumarjn 7 years, 10 months ago

"If one want to examine the Weather Channel more closely" was in reference to John Coleman. John was forced out of the Weather Channel and seems to think ice does not melt.


John Kinkaid 7 years, 10 months ago

Save the earth. Don't exhale.

Here are some articles to begin with.

I dare say that the research is peer reviewed.



Sumarjn 7 years, 10 months ago

You dare say?

I guess a used car salesman settles the global warming issue? (snicker)


John Kinkaid 7 years, 10 months ago

The sun is going through a cycle.

That's from NASA.


Ray Cartwright 7 years, 10 months ago

Here is information that I recieved from a lecture during an energy conference I attended this winter in North Dakota.

Global warming advocates have created model after model to produce what is happening to the earth and the long term effects of mankinds misuse of resources. The problem with creating models is that the unkowns have to be filled in with a value in order for the model to work it's way through to the end result.

The results then are tainted and there is no true end result because the mis-guessing of one of those values could be far reaching enough that the end result could show anything from average earth temperatures of +120 to glacial periods

Scientists, using the information that is available to them have also been tracking the weather paterns for as long as they have the information have come to the conclusion that there has been numerous periods of global warming since the beginning of time and while we might come out of this episode with a 1 or 2 degree increase in global temperature the fact is that if history repeats itself will not be the end of the world and will probably decrease sometime in the future.


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