Wholesale electric supplier will try again in 2014
Executives of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association said it no longer made sense to pursue a short-term increase, given that it would mean a legal fight with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
“The withdrawal of the wholesale rate allows our cooperative family to work together over the next six months to develop a new rate for 2014, rather than spend our time in litigation,” said Ken Anderson, executive vice president and general manager of Tri-State. “Under the circumstances it does not make sense for Tri-State, our members or the New Mexico PRC to spend any more time and money to litigate a rate that will soon be replaced.”
The Public Regulation Commission in March and May rejected Tri-State’s proposals for an interim increase.
Three of Tri-State’s customers — the electric companies of Continental Divide, Kit Carson and Springer — protested the higher rates. Under New Mexico law, objections by three or more cooperatives trigger the PRC’s authority to decide whether an electricity rate increase is justified.
In rejecting Tri-State’s rate proposal in May, Public Regulation Commissioner Patrick Lyons said it did not make its case for an increase. The other four commissioners joined Lyons in rejecting Tri-State’s proposal.
The PRC legal staff said Tri-State claimed that an interim rate increase would benefit non-protesting cooperatives. “It has presented no specific facts to support this claim,” the PRC staff said.
At the time, Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey the wholesaler’s costs had increased in the last year and it needed a higher rate to recover its expenses.
“As a not-for-profit cooperative, Tri-State must pass its cost to serve to its members.
Based on average member wholesale rates, the 2013 cost of service resulted in an average 4.9 percent wholesale rate increase to Tri-State’s members,” Boughey said.
Tri-State is the wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts serving about 1.5 million consumers in parts of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. Tri-State’s clients across New Mexico include cooperatives headquartered in Deming, Cloudcroft and Elephant Butte.