The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on July 31 released proposed rules governing resource planning for wholesale electric power cooperatives.
Gov. Jared Polis in May signed S.B. 236, a sweeping overhaul of utility regulation that requires the Public Utilities Commission to regulate resource plans filed by wholesale electric cooperatives.
The law in part was aimed at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc., a wholesale power cooperative that serves 43 rural electric cooperatives that collectively serve 1.3 million customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. Tri-State has been under fire that it is not transitioning its coal-heavy resource portfolio to renewable energy quickly enough, but the cooperative has said it is making progress toward that end.
Some Tri-State members have said the co-op is not moving fast enough. Delta Montrose Electric Association reached a settlement with Tri-State in July under which it will withdraw from the co-op in 2020 so it can pursue cheaper, cleaner sources of electricity.
"The PUC's proposed rules build substantively on the stakeholder process already applicable to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, while taking into account differences between wholesale electric cooperatives and Colorado's investor-owned electric utilities," the commission said in a news release. "In developing such rules, the PUC must consider, among other factors, whether wholesale electric cooperatives service a multi-state operational jurisdiction, have a non-for-profit ownership structure, and have a resource plan that meets the energy policy goals of Colorado."
Under the proposed rules, Tri-State among other things must provide a detailed description of its projected carbon emissions, as well their cost.
Tri-State is asking that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulate its rates. Tri-State says that will allow it to operate under one set of rate regulations instead of regulations imposed by four different states. Tri-State says FERC rate regulation would not prevent it from complying with emission reduction goals set by the individual states.
A hearing on the rule changes is scheduled for Oct. 15. (Proceeding No. 19R-0408E)