Most people do not think about the electric utility business in our area – you simply flip on your light switch and expect the power to be there. In our area of Northern Colorado, there are three different types of utilities serving electricity to all of the homes, farms and businesses – municipal utilities, Investor-Owned Utilities (IOU) and electric cooperatives. Three households within fifteen minutes of each other might all three receive their electricity from either a municipal utility, IOU or electric co-op, and they each operate under different principles and regulations.
By Amy Blunck,
PVREA is an electric cooperative, governed by those we serve. Cooperatives are member-owned, meaning the members who are consumers have an economic and democratic participation in the co-op. Seventy-six years ago, PVREA was founded by area farmers and a Board of Directors was put into place to represent the membership. The same still holds true today – every year all members of the co-op have the chance to vote for board members, who are also members themselves.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission (G&T), the Cooperative’s power supplier, is also a member-owned cooperative. Tri-State G&T was founded by electric cooperatives in the 1950s, and all cooperatives also have a vote and democratic representation. One of PVREA’s directors serves as a director on Tri-State G&T’s Board of Directors. In working with Tri-State, PVREA develops projects that benefit the membership, such as the community solar farms and 8-megawatt solar project the Cooperative just announced.
Because we are member owned and our Board of Directors represent the interests of the membership, PVREA evaluates opportunities and initiates renewable energy projects and other technological advances when it benefits the membership based upon reliability, economics and conservation of natural resources.
In the cooperative business model, PVREA works for the members and members have a voice. We work together to research new technologies and business practices that maintains reliability, make economic sense for the membership and conserves natural resources. You can read more about our projects, the annual meeting and the cooperative business model at www.pvrea.com.