Western Slope utility serving Delta, Montrose settles on $136.5 million fee to break up with Tri-State | CraigDailyPress.com
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Western Slope utility serving Delta, Montrose settles on $136.5 million fee to break up with Tri-State

The fight between Delta-Montrose Electric Association and its power generating partner has dragged on since 2016 and led Tri-State to be more flexible in its remaining contracts

Mark Jaffe / Colorado Sun
The Nucla Station coal-fired power plant owned and operated by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is located on the West End of Montrose County.
William Woody / Special to the Colorado Sun

The electric cooperative serving the cities of Delta and Montrose has agreed to a $136.5 million fee to exit the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association – showing that breaking up is not only hard to do, but expensive.

The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has since 2016 been sparring over renewable energy with Tri-State, a wholesale power production company serving 43 member electric cooperatives in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Tri-State and DMEA reached an agreement in principle in July 2019, just days before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission was set to begin proceedings to set an exit fee for the cooperative.

Under the exit agreement, which would have DMEA leave Tri-State on June 30, the cooperative would pay a $62.5 million exit fee, $26 million for local Tri-State infrastructure and forgo the $48 million in equity the cooperative held as a member of Tri-State.

The DMEA-Tri-State agreement still must be submitted for final approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is now the regulator for Tri-State.

A number of Tri-State cooperatives have chafed under the association’s long-term contracts that limit local generation to 5% of demand, as they hoped to add more local renewable generation.  DMEA’s contract ran to 2040. Tri-State was also criticized for still being heavily dependent on coal-fired generation.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun’s story, click here.


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