If the phrase, “No rate increase,” is music to one’s ears, then electrical customers in Northern Colorado are singing in unison.
“In 2015, we were able to hold the line on rates once again,” said Jeff Wadsworth, CEO of Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association. “That means we’ve had rate stability for two years in a row. I am also delighted to report that in 2014, we had the lowest average residential rate of any tri-state cooperative in Colorado.”
Wadsworth celebrated these results with nearly 600 member-customers who attended the March 28 annual meeting of the PVREA. Held at Loveland’s Embassy Suites, the meeting’s highlights included the election of directors, as well as the grand prize giveaway of a seven-day Caribbean cruise.
All four incumbents were re-elected to their positions. In addition to the 585 ballots cast at the annual meeting, PVREA Attorney Randy Starr announced that 3,988 customers had mailed in their ballots. The electric cooperative serves approximately 37,000 member-customers over 2,000 miles of service territory in Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties.
In addition to rate stability, Wadsworth emphasized the importance of local renewable energy options. PVREA, which has been nationally recognized as a leader in renewable energy development, recently energized its second community solar farm.
“We remain committed to exploring and incorporating local renewable energy alternatives,” Wadsworth said. With the economic upswing in Northern Colorado, Wadsworth said PVREA connected about 1,000 new customers to the Poudre Valley system in 2014.
The best news for members, said Wadsworth, is his own personal favorite: Capital credits.
“We were able to pay out a total of $3 million in capital credits, our previous margins, in 2014 to our members,” he said. “This was by far and away our largest capital credit retirement in our history.” Wadsworth also touted the cooperative’s safety record. In 2014, PVREA had no lost time due to accidents. “As of today (March 28), we are going on 808 days without a lost-time accident,” he said. “Our previous record was 600 days.”
Wadsworth was one of four speakers at the annual meeting. Joining him at the podium were: Jack Schneider, president of PVREA; Barbara Walz, senior vice president, policy & chief compliance/chief compliance officer for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.; and Kent Singer, executive director at Colorado Rural Electric Association.
President Schneider reviewed the cooperative’s participation in many community activities in 2014. He said PVREA continues to cultivate youth – the future of America. “Every year, we send a student on the Washington, D.C. Youth Tour, where he or she spends a week with 1,500 other students from other electric cooperatives,” Schneider said. “We also send a student every year to the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs. Finally, we awarded 23 scholarships [in 2014] to youth in our community.”
Tri-State G&T, based in Windsor, provides wholesale electric power to PVREA and 43 other distribution cooperatives in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Walz used her time to address the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Act, which her company opposes. Walz said the plan restructures the utility industry in a way that ignores reliability and costs to consumers.
Entertainment for the annual meeting was provided by Sam Adams, a comedian and author, and Four the Good Times, a barbershop quartet. Exhibitors included the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, Larimer County Humane Society, Tri-State G&T, CREA, Colorado Woman’s Task Force, and Clean Energy Collective.
The meeting, preceded by a full breakfast, also featured prize drawings. For the grand prize of a seven-day Caribbean cruise with airfare included, congratulations go to Michael and Pamela Dahl of Windsor.
PVREA Board of Directors Candidates:
District B, Position B-2, Boulder County *Ronald G. Sutherland, Incumbent
District L, Position L-3, Larimer County *James F. Fender, Incumbent
District L, Position L-4, Larimer County *Rickey D. Johnson, Incumbent
Donald E. Morris
District L, Position L-5, Larimer County *Roger Alexander, Incumbent
Note: The PVREA Board of Directors is elected by and from the membership for three-year terms from voting districts.