As the calendar turned over to 2014, Tri-State’s employee services group was already geared up to begin their 2014 recruiting circuit, which stretched over approximately 910 miles, at 6 universities, in 4 states.
Tri-State engineer and School of Mines alumni, Ryan Hubbard, explains different internship opportunities to a student.
Beginning on January 28th, Gigi Eschenberg and Rachel Jaakkola of the employee services team visited the University of Colorado, followed by stops at Colorado State University (February 5), University of Nebraska (February 13) and University of Wyoming (February 18). Plac Herrera, also of employee services, headed south to New Mexico University on February 5.
Engineers Joey Caruso and Ryan Hubbard assisted with recruiting at their alma mater, Colorado School of Mines.
This year, Tri-State has planned for three new rotation employees, two electrical engineers and a computer science or IT graduate, as well as five summer interns. The five summer interns will all be electrical engineering majors working in the following areas: system protection, system planning, transmission maintenance, system operations and EMS/MDMS support. Continue reading ‘Employee services staff hits the road recruiting for Tri-State’
NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson discusses the strength of the “co-op nation” during the opening general session of the 2014 NRECA annual meeting.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)’s 2014 Annual Meeting and TechAdvantage® Expo are taking place now through March 6 at the new Music City Center in downtown Nashville. Tri-State is a member of NRECA, which is a national service organization based in Arlington, Va., founded in 1942 to compile and disseminate rural electric information and to represent the national interests of cooperative electric utilities.
This year’s event, themed “Co-op Nation: Strong and Proud” includes a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and on Monday Jo Ann Emerson delivered her initial address as CEO to the rural electric Annual Meeting audience.
Attendees will also take in a performance by country music star Martina McBride and a closing keynote speech by acclaimed broadcast journalists Jane Pauley. “Her message of inspiration and possibilities truly reflects the spirit of Co-op Nation,” said Emerson.
More than one hundred volunteers helped build two energy efficient Habitat for Humanity homes in Fairview, TN as part of a community service project before the NRECA annual meeting.
The meeting kicked off Monday with a traditional community service project. More than 100 volunteers from Touchstone Energy electric cooperatives across the country helped build two energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity homes in Fairview, Tenn.
As always, the gathering will provide opportunities to network with co-op peers, learn from industry experts, and discuss critical resolutions that define the association’s mission. More than 8,500 electric co-op leaders are slated to attend, making the meeting the largest event to date in the Nashville Music Convention Center.
Wheatland REA’s annual meeting held on Feb. 26 in Wheatland, Wyo. marks the first of a long series of events held throughout the member service territory.
Wednesday (Feb. 26), marked the start of the 2014 series of Tri-State member annual meetings, beginning with Wheatland Rural Electric Association’s annual membership gathering held at the 4-H building in Wheatland, Wyo. This event marked the first of 37 meetings that Tri-State’s member services group, along with senior management staff members, will attend in 2014.
Along with the annual meeting, the co-op’s agenda featured a health fair with blood testing, as well as informational packets to raise awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle for its members.
Tri-State’s member services booth showcased residential LED light bulbs and the rebates and incentives that Wheatland REA members can receive from the co-op and Tri-State for replacing inefficient and outdated incandescent bulbs with LED lights. Residential member rebates offer either a 50 percent or $10 rebate (whichever is less) on any LED bulb purchase for up to 50 bulbs per year. Continue reading ’2014 membership annual meeting series kicks off in Wheatland’
Tri-State, in partnership with its member systems, is a strong supporter of promoting energy efficient practices and products through its long-standing Energy Efficiency Products (EEP) program that offers financial incentives for new technologies such as LED and induction lighting that help dairy operators reduce their energy costs. In support of that endeavor, Tri-State member services staff, along with employees from United Power, Morgan County REA and High West Energy, recently (Feb. 20) boarded a bus to embark on an energy efficiency tour of a local dairy operation.
View of milking parlor at the Shelton Dairy near La Salle, Colo.
The tour, hosted by the Western Dairy Association, in collaboration with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the Colorado Energy Office, was of the 2,300-cow, Shelton Dairy near La Salle, Colo.
The purpose of the tour was to learn about some of the many energy saving opportunities that are available at these types of dairy operations and discuss some of the efficiency gains that have already been achieved as a result of an energy audit that was conducted at this farm with the help of EnSave, a firm that specializes in energy efficiency in agriculture, along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading ‘Staff and membership personnel look at energy efficiency practices at Colorado dairy’
Tri-State staff captured this photo at the videotaping of the “Matchwits” program last fall in Pueblo.
Teams of high school students from across Colorado are in their second month of a four-month, weekly half-hour airing of the “Matchwits” competition on PBS television that is being sponsored in part by Tri-State and many of its Touchstone Energy co-ops based in Centennial State. The program can be seen on your local Rocky Mountain PBS channel at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Students representing 16 high schools from across Colorado converged in Pueblo last November for a three-day, single-elimination tournament that was recorded at the Rocky Mountain PBS studios on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Questions in the televised tournament are in the categories of English, history, geography, science, current events, math and more.
Along with directly supporting youth and education with a statewide impact, Colorado’s Touchstone Energy co-ops are receiving a significant amount of on-air, online and in-person exposure and recognition through their group competition.
This is the 29th straight year Colorado’s public television network has organized and held the high school academic quiz show, but this year marks the first time that the program was opened up to schools throughout the entire state, as opposed to only those in southern Colorado. The program runs through mid-April. Click here to learn more about the “Matchwits” program on the PBS Web site.
Tri-State has entered into a 25-year agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC for a 150 megawatt wind generating facility to be constructed in eastern Colorado in the service territory of Tri-State member, K. C. Electric Association (Hugo, Colo.).
Phase 1 of Colorado Highlands Wind was completed in 2012. Located in Colorado’s northeastern Logan County, it receives station electric service from Tri-State member, Highline Electric Association.
Under the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Tri-State will purchase the entire output and associated environmental attributes of the Carousel Wind Farm. The 150 MW facility will be Tri-State’s largest wind energy PPA to date. When the project begins commercial operation, the wind farm will provide affordable electricity to Tri-State’s 44 member cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
“This was a timely and cost-effective opportunity for us to diversify our generation fleet and deepen our expertise in the challenging area of integrating variable energy resources,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president.
The Carousel Wind Farm agreement was the result of a solicitation for renewable resources issued by Tri-State in early 2013, months before the Colorado legislature approved a new mandate doubling the renewable standard for the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Although the project will assist the association to meet that mandate, as well as a renewable energy standard in place in New Mexico, Tri-State believes such mandates are unnecessary and that the not-for-profit cooperative’s resource decisions should be directed by its democratically-elected board.
A NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary will construct, own and operate the Carousel Wind Farm.
The project will interconnect to existing Tri-State transmission facilities in the Burlington area and is possible only because of planned transmission upgrades in the area. The upgrades have been in the planning process since 2010 and are expected to be completed in 2016. Nebergall notes that constraints in the grid system are making it increasingly harder to site and construct generation facilities in the region. Continue reading ‘Tri-State signs agreement for 150-megawatt wind project in eastern Colo.’
Kevin Smith, enterprise security specialist, displays what is known in the security industry as the “triple crown” — the CPP, PSP and PCI board certifications given by ASIS.
Tri-State is proud to recognize employees who have recently earned a certification, completed a course or achieved a career milestone.
Congratulations to Kevin Smith, enterprise security specialist, on recently receiving his Professional Certified Investigator (PCI)® certification.
The PCI credential provides demonstrable proof of knowledge and experience in case management, evidence collection, report preparation and testimony to substantiate findings. Those who earn the PCI designation are certified in investigations by the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) board.
“We are extremely proud of Kevin’s accomplishment and his gained knowledge and experience will greatly benefit Tri-State,” said Allan Wick, enterprise security manager. Continue reading ‘Hats Off to Kevin Smith!’
This week, a dozen transmission maintenance and heavy apparatus employees gathered at Tri-State’s Sidney, Neb. field facility to attend and successfully complete the first of a series of 2014 crane certification classes that will be conducted at various Tri-State locations throughout the year.
One of Tri-State’s larger 43-ton capacity cranes used primarily by the association’s transmission maintenance crews.
“Our goal with this program is to run approximately 95 employees through this four-day certification class before the end of the year,” said Jim Griff, transmission maintenance manager of support services.
The program is being administered by Clint White, field training specialist (transmission). The certification instructors are Jerry Marrs, field training specialist (heavy apparatus), Wayne Martin, training coordinator (transmission) and Rodney Beason, training coordinator, who is also handling the crane certification for plant location employees.
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has yet to mandate that all employees who use boom and crane vehicles as a part of their job must be certified, “we believe in being proactive in our training programs and also have determined that this instruction is a priority in keeping our crane operators, and those employees working around them, safe at all times,” said Griff. Continue reading ‘Crane certification kicks off in Sidney’
It has been more than four months since Colorado’s Front Range, mountain areas and the eastern plains were inundated by flood waters that claimed 10 lives, destroyed nearly 1,900 homes and caused havoc to the state’s infrastructure, including washed out roads, bridges and power supply equipment operated by at least three of Tri-State’s member systems.
The northern Colorado town of Kersey was awash after the South Platte River left its banks.
According to member services personnel at United Power (Brighton, Colo.), Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Morgan County REA (Fort Morgan, Colo.), most of the restoration activities on their systems have been completed with some permanent fixes awaiting road repairs and other infrastructure projects.
By far, the hardest hit member system was United Power, which had more than 4,000 member consumers without power during the height of the storm, which began on Sept. 9, 2013 and lasted for nearly a week. “Last fall we still had portions of our electric system configured to provide back-up power while road repairs were completed,” said Laurel Eller, communications specialist at United Power. “Recently, we were able to complete equipment repairs and return the system configuration to its normal status, however, we still have some underground cable to repair in the Del Camino area,” she noted. Continue reading ‘Co-ops report most flood repairs completed’
Following a two-day strategic planning session held for the Tri-State board on Jan. 13-14, at Westminster headquarters, the association’s directors and several members of senior management staff boarded a chartered bus for an afternoon tour of a portion of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) complex, near Golden, Colo., followed by a visit to the site of NREL’s National Wind Technology Center in northern Jefferson County.
Dana Christiansen, with NREL, gives a brief overview presentation on the center prior to guided tours of the Energy Systems Integration Facility.
The tours were hosted by Dr. Bryan Hannegan and several of his colleagues at NREL. Hannegan, an NREL scientist and engineer, was a guest speaker at last week’s Tri-State monthly board meeting held Jan. 7-8 in Westminster.
Hannegan, who specializes in the field of renewable integration into the national power grid, provided a tour of NREL’s 182,000 square-foot, Energy System Integration Center, where about 200 of NREL’s 2,400 employees conduct simulations and research on small and utility scale technologies that are emerging in the marketplace.
A multiple vehicle hybrid vehicle charging station is being tested for client, Toyota Motor Co.
This one-of-a-kind facility is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories with megawatt-scale testing capabilities, integrated electrical, thermal and fuel infrastructures, advanced data analysis and visualization capabilities. Their testing ranges from the “smart” energy efficient home, performance characteristics of energy storage systems, to the grid impact of multiple hybrid vehicle charging stations. Continue reading ‘Board caps planning session with NREL tour’
It has been said that if you choose a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. While that may be a bit of an overstatement, it is clear from our visit with Jeff Umphlett, manager of Big Horn Rural Electric Company (Basin, Wyo.), that this is a man who truly enjoys his days working at this northwest Wyoming co-op.
Jeff Umphlett, manager of Big Horn REA, is a second generation co-op manager. His dad, James, was a long-time manager of the former Shoshone River Power.
“It is very gratifying to work with such a great group of dedicated employees and I really get a lot of satisfaction interacting with our members every day – it’s a great job,” said Umphlett.
Of course, this is not too surprising when you consider that the Big Horn manager grew up learning about the co-op business model from a veteran of the industry, his dad, James Umphlett, former long-time manager of Shoshone River Power, based in Cody, Wyo. Shoshone River Power was part of the Tri-State membership until the mid-1980s, when the co-op sold its assets to PacifiCorp.
The younger Umphlett decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and after a few years of working for an accounting firm in Denver returned to Wyoming to work for another former Tri-State member cooperative, Riverton Valley REA (Riverton, Wyo.) In the late 90s Riverton Valley REA and another former Tri-State member system, Hot Springs REA (Thermopolis, Wyo.), merged to become High Plains Power, based in Riverton. Continue reading ‘Small member co-op big on community involvement’
Tri-State director Jack Finnerty listens to Dr. Bryan Hannegan’s presentation at the January board meeting.
Tri-State’s board of directors welcomed notable National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientist and engineer Dr. Bryan Hannegan, who specializes in the field of renewable energy integration into the national energy infrastructure, as a guest speaker at yesterday’s monthly board meeting.
The presentation touched on the topics of future energy systems and their challenges, grid integration issues, the variability and forecasting of renewables, the impacts of generator cycling and more.
“The goal is to accelerate this clean energy future, but to do so in a way that’s durable – that doesn’t need a mandate, doesn’t need a subsidy, it just is,” said Hannegan.
Hannegan went on to discuss NREL’s approaches to addressing these issues in the laboratories of its state-of-the-art Energy Systems Integration Facility. The board and Tri-State’s senior management staff will have an opportunity to see the facility first-hand during a tour of the NREL complex near Golden, Colo. next week. Continue reading ‘NREL’s Dr. Bryan Hannegan speaks to Tri-State Board’
It has been a little more than six months since the most destructive fire in Colorado history killed two people and destroyed 488 homes in the Black Forest area served by Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.).
At least a dozen new homes are now under construction in the area stricken by the Black Forest fire last June.
Today, at least a dozen new homes are rising from the charred ruins and the co-op’s line crews are closing in on repairing service infrastructure destroyed in the blaze, according to Darryl Edwards, Mountain View Electric’s member services manager.
Edwards estimates that approximately 80 percent of the lines, poles, meters and other power supply equipment have been repaired or replaced in the impacted areas and according to El Paso County officials, approximately 90 construction permits had been issued in the Black Forest area by early December.
“We are now starting to shift our restoration efforts to lining up our contractors to begin clearing ‘hazard trees’ that pose a threat to our lines,” Edwards explained. “This is a major undertaking that could involve the cutting and removal of up to 20,000 trees — some of which are on private property and require landowner approval before we can cut them down,” he said.
The Black Forest fire destroyed 488 homes that were served by Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association.
Edwards pointed out that the co-op has received an extension from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through June of 2014 to complete this task. FEMA is shouldering 75 percent of the $5 million to $6 million cost of removing the hazard trees, as well as providing similar funding to assist El Paso County in removing dead or dying trees near roadways. Continue reading ‘Rising from the ashes: Mountain View consumers rebuilding after deadly fire’
Tri-State and its workforce have brightened many lives in many ways this year – especially this recent holiday season.
As Christmas was celebrated last week, the Powering the West team felt it fitting to share some of the ways that the association and its employees have generously given their time and resources to help our neighbors in recent weeks.
Food Bank of the Rockies
In late November and early December, the east-side employee association organized a food drive at Tri-State headquarters and collected 400 pounds of food — equal to roughly 1600 meals — for Food Bank of the Rockies.
Craig Station employees helped raise nearly $1,000 this season for the community’s Salvation Army agency.
Salvation Army – Craig Services Unit
In mid-December, Craig Station employees volunteered for an entire weekend as Salvation Army bell ringers outside Craig’s City Market store. Many employees also brought their children along to foster volunteerism. Their efforts helped raise nearly $1,000 for the Salvation Army.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Under the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives banner, Tri-State was once again a key sponsor of the Ronald McDonald House “Light the House” radiothon on KOSI radio, held Dec. 5. This year’s event set a new record, raising more than $170,000 for families in need at the Ronald McDonald Houses in the Denver area.
Nucla Cause & Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse
Employees of Nulca Station supported local families who are struggling financially by helping supply “Angel Baskets.” The baskets provide food, clothing, school supplies, prescription co-pays and more. Nucla Station also gave to the Montrose County Sheriff Posse’s West End Children’s Fund, which provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income households and to elderly citizens of the community. Continue reading ‘Tri-State and its employees celebrate a season of giving’
Flight operations personnel were recently lauded for recertification of their VPP Star Site status. Shown left to right are Josh Thompson, Barry Hitt, Gary Sumner, Rick Henkle, Phil Curry, Joe Mirando, Juan Pliego, Jeff Hamilton, Sam Taylor, Chris Stoltz and Ryan Munden.
There’s nothing up in the air about Tri-State’s flight operations personnel’s commitment to safety. That commitment was proudly put on display on Dec. 13 at the association’s aircraft hangar at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colo., where a group of Tri-State senior management staff, safety personnel and other guests acknowledged the hard work of Tri-State’s flight operations employees in earning a five-year Star Site recertification in the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).
VPP is a cooperative initiative between OSHA and businesses and industries to promote effective worksite-based safety and health management systems. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.
“Star Site” status, which Tri-State has earned at two of its worksites (flight operations and Escalante Station), is the highest level of recognition in VPP.
The association’s flight operations first earned Star Site status in VPP in 2010, for a three-year term. An OSHA follow-up audit of the airport site took place earlier this year and as a result of receiving a clean audit, Tri-State’s flight operations have been recertified as a VPP Star Site through 2018. Continue reading ‘OSHA reaffirms flight operations’ stellar safety practices’
Visit www.westernfuelscolorado.org to learn more about Tri-State’s mining subsidiary operations.
Through its management of the Colowyo and New Horizon mines, Tri-State subsidiary Western Fuels-Colorado has a productive and readily apparent presence on the landscape of the company’s service territory. With the launch of a new web site this month, Western Fuels-Colorado now has an online presence as well.
The new site, at www.WesternFuelsColorado.org, was developed by Tri-State’s communications team to help brand not only the subsidiary, but also the mining facilities themselves. With photographs and concise copy, the web site provides a location where the public, prospective employees, members of the media and others interested in learning more about the operations at Colowyo and New Horizon can go for information.
“The work done by Western Fuels-Colorado and the employees at our mining properties is essential to the success of Tri-State and its member systems,” said Mike Sorensen, senior manager of fuel and water resources. ”And as hard as we have worked over the last few years to fully integrate Colowyo and New Horizon into the association’s operations and processes, at the same time we want to make sure Western Fuels-Colorado establishes an online identity and has a channel for sharing appropriate information.”
“On behalf of the team at Western Fuels-Colorado, I want to thank all of our colleagues who helped with this project – particularly Rachel Jaakkola, a rotation employee in employee services, who contributed significantly to the web site development during her time in the communications and public affairs department.”
While Tri-State’s 100-megawatt Nucla Station in southwest Colorado was off line in 2013 for approximately two months during both of the lower demand ”shoulder” periods of spring and fall, plant employees ramped up to tackle a long list of maintenance and capital projects, some of which would normally be completed by outside contract firms.
During the outages, extensive repairs and upgrades were completed at the plant’s coal receiving and reclaim areas.
“Having the available personnel and extra time during the outages allowed us to get a lot more done than we usually have time to complete during our typical two-week fall outage,” explained Steve Sullivan, plant manager at Nucla Station. “In view of us taking on all those projects that we don’t normally do in-house, I am particularly proud of our employees’ excellent safety record this year,” he noted.
The station conducted its spring outage from March 15 through June 7. The plant was brought off line as a coal conservation measure while permitting was completed for a new mining site at nearby New Horizon Mine.
The fall outage, which is normally two weeks in length, was extended from Sept. 13 until Nov. 14 to allow time for coal deliveries to begin from the new mining site. Continue reading ‘Nucla Station outages yield long list of completed projects, plant upgrades’
Tri-State Pueblo-based linemen Reid Kelley (left) and Walter Greene work on a frosted structure on the Axil Basin to Hayden 138-kV line.
The unofficial creed of the U.S. Postal Service claims that “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” will prevent the mail from being delivered. Why “bitter cold” didn’t make the list is unclear, but any motto drafted for Tri-State employees who must venture outdoors to help keep the lights on would certainly describe their willingness to brave cruel winter weather.
During the recent brutal cold spell – during which temperatures around the association’s service territory plummeted to depths such as 2 below (Chama, N.M.), 12 below (Riverton, Wyo.), 16 below (Henry, Neb.) and even 36 below (Craig, Colo.) – no components of the Tri-State system experienced weather-related outages.
This was thanks, in part, to the hardy men and women who were undaunted by the conditions and continued to perform their operations and maintenance roles at the company’s generating plants, mining properties and transmission facilities.
“With more than a foot of snow and wind that helped drop the temperatures to 36 below zero in the area, our staff braved it all to keep the lights on,” noted Craig Station plant manager Rick Johnson. Continue reading ‘Tri-State employees brave brutal cold to keep the lights on — and win’
KOSI Radio’s “Light the House” Radiothon, held on December 5 and sponsored in part the region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, set a new fundraising record – exceeding the total amounts raised in the previous two years.
In a single day, more than $170,000 was raised for families in need at the Ronald McDonald Houses in the Denver area.
The 13-hour event was broadcast live from the Aurora Ronald McDonald House near the new Children’s Hospital on the Fitzsimons Campus and featured families staying at the house, sponsors, medical professionals and more.
Ronald McDonald House provides temporary housing for families who live at least 60 miles outside the metro area–often in smaller rural communities–and whose children are receiving treatment at Denver area hospitals. The funds raised will help provide a warm, supportive alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable hospital waiting rooms, as well as home-cooked meals and private living quarters, and an extended network of support from others in similar situations. Learn more at www.ronaldhouse.org.
As in most jobs, it is important to have the proper tools to complete the task safely and efficiently. That is the idea behind Tri-State’s plan to lease a line maintenance machine — the Linetrac 830G — that combines a digger/derrick truck and a man lift vehicle on a bulldozer platform.
The Linetrac 830G will be a welcome addition to Tri-State’s transmission maintenance equipment fleet.
This unique, multi-task machine is well suited to assist crews in tackling a list of necessary maintenance projects that are located in difficult access and environmentally sensitive areas of the service territory.
Tri-State’s board of directors authorized the one-year lease of the Linetrac during the Dec. 3-4 board meeting held in Westminster. Greg Britton, acting senior manager of transmission maintenance, provided a detailed presentation on this machine at the Dec. 3 engineering and operations board committee meeting. Continue reading ‘Line crews to test new Linetrac dozer on difficult access jobs’
The Ronald McDonald House provides a warm, supportive alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable hospital waiting rooms for out-of-town families.
Commitment to community is a key cooperative principle – and Tri-State and the region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are demonstrating that commitment this season by supporting the 5th annual KOSI 101 and Ronald McDonald House Charities radiothon tomorrow, Dec. 5.
Helping raise money for the Ronald McDonald House is a great fit for Tri-State and its member systems. The charity provides temporary housing for families who live at least 60 miles outside the metro area — often in smaller rural communities — and whose children are receiving treatment at Denver area hospitals.
Providing home-cooked meals, companionship and support are a few of the invaluable ways that the Ronald McDonald House helps families during times of medical crisis.
During the two weeks leading up to the radiothon, KOSI and numerous radio stations throughout Tri-State’s service territory in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming have been airing 60-second vignettes featuring the positive experiences of families who have stayed at the facility, followed by a message from Touchstone Energy cooperatives encouraging listeners to support the radiothon.
“Touchstone Energy cooperatives wholeheartedly embrace the idea of supporting our communities,” said Jim Van Someren, Tri-State communications manager. “In fact, it’s one of the core values on which the brand was founded. And because the Ronald McDonald House directly supports member-consumers of our co-op communities when they need it most, we are supporting the facility in the most effective ways we can.” Continue reading ‘The region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will help “Light The House” tomorrow’
Construction of a new Tri-State field facility in eastern Colorado that will consolidate the Burlington-based transmission maintenance crew members and generation personnel at Burlington Station at one site is progressing on schedule this fall.
Construction is on schedule for a spring 2014 completion of the Burlington Generation and Transmission Maintenance Facility in eastern Colorado.
The new building, referred to as Burlington Generation and Transmission Maintenance Facility, replaces an outmoded generation building at Burlington Station. “We moved the Burlington Station personnel to an adjacent, temporary building about a year-and-a-half ago,” said Ben Mayer, Tri-State’s general facilities manager.
The four members of the Burlington transmission maintenance crew are currently based at a leased facility in the nearby town of Burlington. Transmission maintenance personnel, along with the five generation employees at the plant site, are expected to move into their new building once it is completed in March of 2014. Continue reading ‘New Burlington building will consolidate generation and transmission personnel’
Tri-State member co-op San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) has established new scholarship in memory of James “Wes” Perrin (left), a former SMPA and Tri-State board member who passed away from throat cancer in the spring of 2013.
“Wes was an ardent supporter of energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said SMPA general manager Kevin Ritter. “During his time on the board he helped bring to life many of the programs and services we offer today. The board chose to honor his contributions by establishing the Wes Perrin Memorial Scholarship.”
The team from Pikes Peak Christian High School (left) takes on competitors from La Junta High School in a preliminary match during last weekend’s “Matchwits” tournament in Pueblo.
Students representing 16 high schools from across Colorado converged in Pueblo Nov. 8-10 to compete in the “Matchwits” tournament – the academic competition put on by Rocky Mountain PBS (RMPBS) and sponsored by Tri-State and the rest of the state’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
This is the 29th straight year Colorado’s public television network has organized and held the high school academic quiz show, but 2013 marks the first time the program was opened up to schools throughout the entire state, as opposed to only those in southern Colorado.
“When Rocky Mountain PBS approached us about sponsoring ‘Matchwits,’ we were immediately intrigued,” said Tri-State communications manager Jim Van Someren. “Then when we learned it was going statewide for the first time, we saw it as a natural fit and the perfect project for Tri-State and all the electric co-ops to support.”
The three-day, single-elimination tournament was held and recorded at Rocky Mountain PBS’ studios on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo. It featured the top 16 schools that had advanced from the original 70 qualifying schools.
Each 30-minute match consisted of three rounds, with subject matter including, but not limited to, English, history, geography, science, math and current events. Former TV meteorologist Craig Eliot played the role of host and quizmaster. Click here for a sneak preview. Continue reading ‘Students “Matchwits” at annual high school academic competition’
Tri-State, together with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, has launched an exciting new online game to help teach young students in classrooms across the U.S. about the value of electricity and how it’s used to power different regions of the country.
The idea for the “Power Up” energy game was born more than a year ago at the national “Ag in the Classroom” conference in Loveland, Colo. It was there that Gigi Dennis, Tri-State’s senior manager of external affairs, learned about the educational outreach activities of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and began exploring partnership opportunities. “It made sense to partner with Farm Bureau because their philosophy is in sync with the co-op philosophy,” said Dennis.
The foundation’s “My American Farm” website was created to teach agricultural literacy to consumers and the public through interactive computer games. Specifically targeting kids in grades 3-5, students learn where food comes from and how those products get from the farm to their dinner plate. The online, interactive aspect of the educational project lets students learn about agriculture while having fun.
In addition to family fun activities, links and educator resources, a number of different games on the site reinforce core American educational curriculum standards of science, math, geography and language arts. Continue reading ‘New online game aims to teach kids fun and energizing way to Power Up’
Dallas Cook, welder mechanic, tackles maintenance project in the rail loadout building during the Craig 1 outage.
Credit Craig Station employees who are making the most out of a difficult situation that occurred on Sept. 7 when a water induction event on the plant’s Unit 1 turbine/generator caused significant damage resulting in an unscheduled outage that will keep that unit off line until mid-December.
“We’ve moved up our planned 2014 minor spring outage to right now to take advantage of the downtime while the turbine is being repaired to complete a fairly long list of maintenance and capital projects that we had planned for next year,” explained Rick Johnson, Craig Station’s plant manager.
“With the repairs that we are doing on the turbine, coupled with our rescheduled routine outage activities, we should be well positioned to reliably operate Unit 1 until its next scheduled major outage in 2016,” Johnson said.
Another potential silver lining to the unfortunate outage event was the discovery of a ground fault during a diagnostics check on the Unit 1 generator field that, if not corrected, could have caused a costly and lengthy electrical failure on the unit, according to engineering superintendent Dana Gregory. The corrective measure – a generator field rewind – will also be accomplished within the projected turbine repair timeframe. Continue reading ‘Craig Station employees make the most of downtime needed for unplanned outage’
Longtime Tri-State director Wayne Child received a 2013 Regional Service Award at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Regions 7 and 9 meeting held last week in Portland, Ore. Child, who has announced his intentions to retire from cooperative service later this year, has represented member co-op High West Energy (Pine Bluffs, Wyo.) on Tri-State’s board for the past 30 years. He also has represented Tri-State on Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s board since 1985.
“Wayne has been at the forefront of significantly growing, developing and improving the co-ops on whose boards he sits,” said NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson. “His stewardship of Tri-State, Basin Electric and High West Energy through acquisitions, mergers and many other complex business dealings underscore the value he brings to these co-ops and their consumer-members. These bold actions have allowed for risk mitigation and better positioning in regional power markets, and they are why we proudly recognize him today,” she said.
Tri-State has a large fleet of smaller service crane trucks like this one, which is capable of lifting up to 5 tons of capacity.
Up to 95 employees working in transmission maintenance, construction services and at Tri-State’s generating facilities will receive in-house training and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-mandated certification for operating the G&T’s fleet of approximately 35 boom, crane and service vehicles in 2014, according to Clint White, Ogallala, Neb.-based transmission field training specialist and coordinator of the new training program.
“The new training plan was prompted by a combination of new certification regulations that are being phased in by OSHA over the next several years and the fact that our own trainers have found the need for additional instruction on this equipment during our annual competency exercises,” said Jim Griff, transmission maintenance manager of support services.
“In putting this program together, we worked closely with Tri-State’s safety group to make sure that all aspects of our certification program are in compliance with all of the soon-to-be enacted OSHA safety regulations,” Griff noted. However, he was also quick to point out that the first priority of the program will be “to keep our crane operators and those employees working around them safe at all times.”
The certification training will be for two separate levels of lifting capacity. The first level, which will target more than two-thirds of the trainees, will be for a lifting capacity of less than 21 tons, while the second level, designed primarily for line crews and construction services personnel, will be for operating the association’s larger equipment capable of lifting up to 75 tons of capacity. Continue reading ‘Tri-State trainers to certify 95 crane operators’
Since Tri-State member system Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative (Espanola, N.M.) adopted a formal vegetation management program in 2012, it has achieved a drastic reduction in outages.
While the program is still in its infancy, the cooperative already is experiencing positive, impactful results — the number of outages has decreased nearly 26 percent. [Read more from Transmission and Distribution World]