Colorado utilities commission files unprecedented protest against Tri-State | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado utilities commission files unprecedented protest against Tri-State

Mark Jaffe/The Colorado Sun
An aerial view of Craig Station, part of Tri-State Generation & Transmission.
File Photo

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has filed a protest with federal regulators seeking to block the bid by the power provider for rural electric cooperatives to jump from state to federal oversight.

The proposed switch by Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is “procedurally unsound, premature, incomplete and jurisdictionally problematic,” the PUC said in its protest.

In the last 25 years the PUC has never intervened in a case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to commission spokesman Terry Bote. He said he did not know if it ever had.

“The PUC took this step because the state has a responsibility to protect its jurisdiction,” Bote said in an email. “There are matters yet to be resolved before the PUC that are pertinent to Tri-State’s filing, and such resolution needs to precede FERC action.”

Tri-State is reviewing the protest, association spokesman Lee Boughey said in an email.

“This is a fairly aggressive stand by the Colorado PUC,” said Ellen Kutzer, a utility attorney with the environmental group Western Resource Advocates. “It will definitely leave a mark on the FERC commissioners.”

On July 9, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association — which serves 43 electric co-ops in four states, including 18 in Colorado — filed a rate application with FERC, which would give oversight of rates and contracts to the federal agency.

Read more at The Colorado Sun.