Wheeler will take on Tri-State

Let’s examine what’s at stake in LPEA Board of Directors election. LPEA is currently locked in to a taxing wholesale contract with regional power cooperative Tri-State, which will last another 29 years. This contract stipulates that LPEA cannot obtain more than 5 percent of its electric needs from local sources, which means we are sending 65 cents of every dollar we spend on wholesale power to Denver. This limitation on our ability to produce local, sustainable power does not serve our community; instead, it undermines our autonomy by preventing us from charting our own cleaner and less-expensive course. 

Don’t take my word for it: other regional electric cooperatives have come to the same realization. Kit Carson Energy in Taos, N.M., exited its Tri-State contract and recently announced it will reach its goal of meeting 100 percent of its daytime electricity needs entirely with solar generation. DMEA in Montrose, which exited its Tri-State contract in July 2020, announced this week an 80MW solar development project that will provide 20 percent of the coop’s power from local generation. 

This is why I encourage voters to mark their ballots to re-elect Tim Wheeler (District 4). We need him on the LPEA Board because he has shown himself willing to challenge the Tri-State contract and make wise decisions to invest in our local community and in LPEA’s members best interests.

– Karen Pontius, Durango