Beware of scam demanding payment for past due utility service balances

Beware-phone-graphic250Members of various rural electric associations and public power districts have received scamming calls demanding payment for past due balances on electric bills. The caller fraudulently poses as an employee of the utility and threatens to shut off electric service if the member doesn’t make a payment immediately via payment services at local gas stations or through money orders.

In the event you are contacted by someone demanding a payment for utility service, do not give them any money and report the incident to local police. If you are ever in doubt that you are doing business with an official utility employee, please call your local power provider to confirm.

U.S. Energy Department Honors Tri-State G&T and San Isabel Electric Association with 2014 Wind Cooperative of the Year Awards

AColorado-Highlands-Wind-Phase-1-Dedication--051250The United States Department of Energy (DOE) today recognized Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., as the 2014 Wind Cooperative of the Year in the generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative category. Tri-State member San Isabel Electric Association, Inc. (SIEA), based in Pueblo West, Colo., was honored for wind energy development by a distribution cooperative.

The two power providers were selected by a panel of experts from the wind industry, utilities, government, national laboratories and cooperatives. The 14th annual awards were presented at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association TechAdvantage 2015 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. Accepting the award on behalf of Tri-State was Don Keairns, SIEA board member and representative on the Tri-State board of directors.

According to Tri-State Senior Vice President of Energy Management Brad Nebergall, the wholesale power supplier has been purchasing wind power since 1998 and pursued its first utility-scale wind project in 2009 with the power purchase of the full output of the 51-megawatt Kit Carson Wind Power Project, located in the service territory of Tri-State member KC Electric Association.

In 2012, Tri-State contracted for the full output of the 67-megawatt Colorado Highlands Wind Farm, a project that was expanded by 24 megawatts the following year. The association is currently working with a private developer on the 150-megawatt Carousel Wind Project near Burlington, Colo., scheduled to be online in 2016 after the completion of a major transmission line. Tri-State is currently considering both wind and solar projects submitted in response to a request for proposals issued in 2014.

“Including hydropower, renewable energy has been integral to our operations since Tri-State’s founding,” said Nebergall. “We continue to invest in technologies that diversify our generation portfolio while meeting our obligation to deliver reliable, affordable power to our members. Today over 20 percent of the energy we provide our members comes from wind and other renewable resources.”

In addition to its wind resources, Tri-State purchases all of the power from the 30-megawatt Cimarron Solar Facility in northeastern New Mexico. Tri-State also provides support for its members that participate in more than 50 megawatts of community-based distributed and renewable energy projects, including wind, solar, hydropower, landfill gas and recycled heat, in their service territories.

One of those members, SIEA, has been a leader in wind power development in Colorado dating back to the 2004 installation of three anemometer towers to assess the wind potential in Huerfano County. The data from those towers has assisted with educational research and renewables development in the area, leading to the 2013 commissioning of SIEA’s Huerfano River Wind Project. The largest community-owned, distributed-generation wind facility in the region, the 8-megawatt project today supplies five percent of SIEA’s annual kilowatt-hour requirements.

SIEA is now partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for a demonstration project using remotely controlled water heaters and electric thermal storage units to absorb the intermittent wind power. “These solutions can help to break down the integration barriers for smaller scale distributed energy projects,” said San Isabel General Manager Reg Rudolph. “I am proud of the leadership San Isabel has shown in developing this project, creating a working model for others to follow.”

Tri-State provides residential energy auditing training to member co-ops

resid-audit-class250Tri-State, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the Western Area Power Administration teamed up to sponsor the Touchstone Energy Residential Energy Auditing Course earlier this month. Attended by 42 representatives of electric cooperatives, the two-and-a-half day training course set attendance records. Instructed by Jim Herritage, CEM, the class provided the necessary tools to perform complete residential energy audits including basic auditing methods and calculations regarding energy savings.

According to Georgia Mathews, member services representative at Tri-State member Continental Divide Electric Cooperative in Grants, N.M., “Thanks to Jim’s instruction, I am able to go well beyond the basics to educate our co-op members about energy auditing. I can’t wait to share the efficiency measures, savings calculations and energy-cost factors I learned.”

Tri-State recognizes the importance of these educational programs to provide valuable information to its members and residential energy audits are one way for co-ops to provide that service. The more cooperative representatives know about construction and building science, the easier it is for them to explain costs and to trouble-shoot high energy bills.

According to Mathews, “I am enlightened from my experience of interacting with my co-op peers to better understand the challenges we all face when it comes to the importance of sound energy management for the benefit of our membership as a whole.”

Touchstone Energy supports Children’s Hospital Colorado

alice-logo[1]250The region’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives displayed their concern for community through sponsorship of the Alice 105.9 Cares for Kids Radiothon, benefiting Children’s Hospital Colorado. With numerous children across Tri-State’s service territory benefiting from the valuable services provided by the hospital, it was a worthwhile cause to support.

Representatives from Tri-State manned the phones during last week’s event, collecting donations to support the work done by Children’s Hospital. The generosity of the callers was remarkable, with one donor calling from within the phone bank to make a $10,000 donation to the cause. The grand total raised by the effort was an impressive $1.68 million.

Tri-State-sponsored exhibit ‘sparks’ interest at Albuquerque museum

Exterior-museum-250Tri-State was recognized as a participating sponsor and supporter of a new museum exhibit entitled, “Electricity: Spark Your Curiosity,” at a Feb. 6 soft opening event attended by museum officials and supporters of Albuquerque’s National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. The sponsored Spark Your Curiosity exhibit was designed to bring science, fun and the history of electricity to life through a series of hands-on working models.

Some of the featured activities of the exhibit include sending coded messages through Morse Code, manipulating a compass using electricity, generating power to illuminate a light bulb, becoming a human battery and more.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History tells the story of the Atomic Age, from early research of nuclear development through today’s peaceful uses of the technology. It was chartered by Congress in 1991 as the official Atomic Museum of the United States.

Members educate students with The Story Behind the Switch program

SBTS250elyseTri-State helps its member systems to engage their members and provide service to their communities with The Story Behind the Switch program. The program teaches elementary school children the basics of electricity and staying safe near power lines.

Tri-State and the local electric co-op work in partnership to bring the program into the classroom, providing an opportunity for the member system to interact with their consumers. According to Robert Adams, Tri-State relationship manager, “This program is going to be a large part of the many ways our member systems serve their members.”
The program is an hour-long interactive session which features hands-on demonstrations including a Van de Graaf generator that creates enough static electricity to cause a volunteer’s hair to stand on end, a plasma ball to demonstrate the power of electricity, and samples of coal, power line sections and safety clothing worn by linemen.

Colo. Co-op Saws Through Wind Storm Damage

lineman-repairs-pole-in-colorado-240x166[1]250When winter winds whipped through Colorado last month, United Power’s Bryant Robbins knew he had to come up with a power restoration strategy. Read how he banded together crews with chain saws to restore power after 120 mph winds downed power lines and trees. [Read more]

 

PVREA offers pre-pay option to members

 online-payment-250x166[1]Tri-State member Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA) recently introduced a new payment option for its member owners – Pay As You Go. The offering allows members to prepay on their electric account, paying a minimum $25 payment, and then monitoring their electricity use via the co-op’s app, available via web, tablet or smartphone.

“It’s similar to the concept of filling up your gas tank. You pay for your gas before you use it. Pay As You Go is the same concept – members log into their account or call into the office to fill up their electricity tank with a payment,” CEO Jeff Wadsworth explains.

Benefits of the program include the elimination of any disconnection and reconnection fees, and the ability to bypass any required deposit for new service. Additional information about the program can be found in the recent article on PVREA’s website.

 

Renewable energy projects in Colorado

CREA250Renewable energy projects and energy efficiency programs are all part of what Colorado’s electric cooperatives offer their members. Learn more about what the co-ops are doing by watching this video or visiting crea.coop.

 

Energy and electric co-ops promoted to college students

GunnisonTSETri-State member, Gunnison County Electric Association (Gunnison, Colo.), exemplifies the cooperative principle of education, training and information by working with Western State Colorado University in several ways to teach students about energy, electric cooperatives, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

GCEA’s CEO Mike McBride, staff engineer Rocky Ferran, COO Roger Grogg and energy use specialist Alantha Garrison recently visited Western State Colorado University to inform undergraduate students about electricity and how the electric co-op provides power to its members. The energy class “Fundamentals of Professional Land and Resource Management” is part of the WSCU land management program, and its goal is to expose students to the ins and outs of all of the sources of energy that society uses on a regular basis.

Read More

Tri-State member systems support environmental efforts in local communities

telluride-daily-planet-250x135[1]Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is an area of focus in many of the communities within Tri-State’s member system service territories. A recent article in the Telluride Daily Planet featured that community’s success in its environmental efforts – with Telluride on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals five years ahead of schedule.

One initiative highlighted as a positive contribution to the community’s emissions reduction was the purchase of solar panels at San Miguel Power Association’s community solar farm in Paradox Valley. As a complement to Tri-State’s existing renewable portfolio, the association supports local renewable projects like this one and incentivizes their development within its member systems’ service territories.

In addition to supporting local renewable projects, Tri-State’s Energy Efficiency Products program allows member systems to offer significant rebates to consumers on projects like the installation of energy efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems. Together, these efforts give Tri-State’s member systems more options for renewable resources coupled with energy conservation tools that offer their member owners more resource choices, while saving them money on their utility bills.

Tri-State member, DMEA, helps towns install street light upgrades

LEDStreetlightsWEB-250Tri-State member Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) Energy Services exemplifies the cooperative spirit of helping to improve the communities it serves by facilitating the replacement of current street lights with LEDs. It’s difficult to come up with any aspect of street lighting that isn’t improved when old High-pressure Sodium (HPS) or Mercury-Vapor lights are replaced with LEDs.  LEDs are more reliable, require far less maintenance which reduces roadside risks during repairs, last substantially longer, provide higher quality light and use about half the energy of their predecessors. Read about DMEA’s two pilot projects.

Tri-State’s cooperative advantage

Transmission-01Cooperatives are owned by the people they serve which sets them apart from other electric utilities. Tri-State and its member systems operate according to a core set of principles along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their member owners. Read about the seven cooperative principles.

 

Electric co-op’s innovative program helps the community it serves

operation-roundup250Electric cooperatives often strive to strengthen the bonds with their members and the communities they serve. Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Hardeeville, S.C., is no exception as it implemented Operation Round Up®, a program that gives members the option of having their bills rounded up to the nearest dollar every month, with those extra few cents going to benefit people in need within the co-op’s service territory. This year the program celebrates 25 years of positive change. Read more.

Basin Electric expands its wind power

wind[1]250Basin Electric Power Cooperative, of which Tri-State is a Class A member and a partner in power production at Laramie River Station, recently announced that it will be adding 300 megawatts of wind power to its portfolio through power purchase agreements with two wind projects in North Dakota.

“As we develop plans to meet our members’ energy needs, we have not discounted any options that will help keep our member rates low,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “These additional wind purchase opportunities fit nicely into our existing generation portfolio.”

The two projects, being led by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Tradewind Energy, are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015 and the end of 2016, respectively. Additional information about the agreements can be found on the Basin Electric Power Cooperative website.

Tri-State’s connections to the National Western Stock Show

_DSC2875-250Tri-State G&T and its Touchstone Energy member cooperatives have supported the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), which runs Jan. 10 – 25 in Denver, Colo., for the last 17 years. The relationship between the NWSS participants and Tri-State’s electric cooperative members thrives because of the electricity the co-ops provide to rural America. Many of the livestock exhibitors and rodeo contestants participating in the NWSS live in rural America, and either receive their power from, or work for, a Tri-State member co-op.

One example of a connection between the NWSS and Tri-State’s electric co-ops can be traced to Bill Midcap, who serves on the board of directors for Morgan County REA, one of Tri-State’s co-op members, and is president of the board for the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA). Midcap has strong connections to the NWSS through his grandchildren’s participation.

Kolby, Midcap’s 13-year-old grandson, has shown steers in the NWSS for the last three years. Kolby’s 10-year-old sister, Bradie, will present steers for the second year in a row this year and his brother, Casey, age 8, will show for the first time in the open prospect heifer classification. The children’s family lives in Wray, Colo., and their home’s electricity is supplied by Y-W Electric Association, a Tri-State member co-op.

Another NWSS connection will be evident as plenty of Highline Electric Association (HEA) employees cheer on one of their own as he performs at the Jan. 12 rodeo. Dan Kafka, the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)/telecom supervisor at HEA, a Tri-State co-op, has the honor of singing the National Anthem that night with his barbershop quartet, Equally Delinquent. Equally Delinquent is registered with the Rocky Mountain District of the Barbershop Harmony Society and their home chorus is the Cowboy Capital Chorus in Ogallala, Neb.

Chimney Rock PPD, another Tri-State member, touts its connection to the NWSS as its consumer Riley Pruitt will compete in calf roping during two Pro Rodeos on Jan. 24 in the tie-down roping events. Pruitt lives in Gehring, Neb. and lives within Chimney Rock PPD’s service territory.

Tri-State congratulates all exhibitors and competitors in the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo.

Tri-State kicks off 2015 with added Wyo. hydroelectric resource

Ralston Canal weir at the Garland Hydroelectric Plant, which provides a steady water supply to provide Tri-State with up to 10 gigawatt-hours of energy annually during the spring, summer and early fall.

Ralston Canal weir at the Garland Hydroelectric Plant, which provides a steady water supply to provide Tri-State with up to 10 gigawatt-hours of energy annually during the spring, summer and early fall.

Beginning in 2015, Tri-State has contracted for the output from its first hydroelectric resource from Wyoming – adding to its growing renewable portfolio that now comprises approximately 20 percent of the energy that the association provides to its 44 member systems. Completed in 1983, the Garland Canal Hydroelectric Project is located in northwest Wyoming, within the service territory of Tri-State member, Garland Light & Power (Powell, Wyo.).  The 2.9-megawatt hydroelectric plant is owned and operated by the Shoshone Irrigation District, which provides water to approximately 1,200 farmers and ranchers over about 36,000 acres of farmland near Powell.  It is a part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) Shoshone Project, which is comprised of a series of dams that divert water from the Shoshone River into multiple irrigation canals that serve the project.

The generating plant is sited on the Garland Canal, at a point near the town of Ralston. The canal drops about 50 feet in elevation over a distance of less than half a mile through the Ralston Chute, after which, the rushing water flows through the powerhouse to generate electricity. The turbine/generator produces an average annual output of 10 million kilowatt-hours. The plant was originally financed for $1.5 million under a U.S. Department of Energy grant as a small-scale hydroelectric power demonstration project.

Water for the project originates from the USBR’s 646,000-acre-feet Buffalo Bill Reservoir, located west of Cody, Wyo. The availability of this large water resource provides a stable, drought-resistant water supply to the Garland Canal Hydroelectric Project.

Tri-State’s 10-year contract to purchase the project output and associated environmental attributes began on Jan. 1, however, as with most irrigation-related projects, hydro-generation will occur between mid-April and mid-October, according to Susan Hunter, Tri-State’s business development manager for energy resources.

San Miguel Power Association gives $1 million back

San-MiguelTSE-250Tri-State G&T is proud to announce that one of its member systems, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), shared its financially solid year with its consumer members as it returned $1 million of surplus revenues from 2014.  This refund, called the Christmas Credit, is just one example of the advantage of being a part of an electric cooperative.

Several states increasing support of electric vehicles

electric-car-250If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), several states are making it easier for you to drive it. Many states are offering incentives for developing infrastructure to support EVs as the market share of plug-in and hybrid electric EVs grows. Washington and Oregon first established such initiatives in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and as a result fast chargers are now available every 25 to 50 miles along the stretch of Interstate 5 running through the state. Tax credits and/or incentives are now offered in states including Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma and New York.

New Times Square ball requires less electricity to ring in the new year

KEAinfographicNYE250The new LED ball is lit year round and uses just 12% of the electricity originally needed when it used halogen lamps. Keep Electricity Affordable (KEA) sums up the statistics of electricity usage during the holidays with this infographic.

 

 

 

Happy holidays from Tri-State G&T

powerchristmasPower and the  electric cooperatives across the West are working hard to make your holidays sparkle. Learn more about Power at PowerWorksForYou.coop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 trends changing the electric industry

Tri-State-Connected-commercialInstead of the 12 gifts of Christmas, we bring you 12 industry trends to ring in the new year. As featured in Rural Electric (RE) Magazine, NRECA has identified twelve trends for the industry that are changing the way business is done. From cyber security, to fast-response generation, to consumer-centric shifts changing interactions with members, understanding these trends will be essential for future co-op success. Read about these trends in RE Magazine’s cover story.

Energy Production Mapped

energy_crestr250A new online resource from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tracks how energy production has changed, state by state, over the past 20 years. “What is perhaps most compelling about this visualization is the way we see energy production growing in nearly every field over the last two decades,” DOE said. “Between 1993 and 2012 total U.S. energy production has increased from 68 quadrillion Btu to 79 quadrillion Btu, a growth of 11 quadrillion Btu or 16 percent.” Find out more at energy.com.

Infographic sheds light on the importance of electricity during the holidays

home-holiday-electricity-use-250This Keep Electricity Affordable infographic provides an interesting look at how electricity usage spikes during the holidays. See Keep Electricity Affordable’s website for more interesting facts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One EPA rule, a million concerns

Jo-Ann-Emerson-May-2014-1-MugshotOne million comments and counting. That’s the mark set by electric co-ops concerned that EPA’s carbon dioxide rule will increase costs and impair grid reliability. [Read more from NRECA]

 

 

San Luis Valley to roll out fiber optic network to its members

On Nov. 20, San Luis Valley REC held a launch event for its new fiber optic Internet system, which will be available to all of its members.

On Nov. 20, San Luis Valley REC held a launch event for its new fiber optic Internet system, which will be available to all of its members.

Tri-State member, San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (Monte Vista, Colo.), recently held a launch event at its headquarters offices in Monte Vista to introduce the co-op’s new fiber optic telecommunications network that will provide high-speed Internet and telephone service to its members across the San Luis Valley.

The new system, called Ciello, an L.L.C. company that is owned and operated by the cooperative, has been stringing fiber on its distribution system for about 15 months and has completed more than half of the 300-mile network of the planned backbone telecommunications system, according to Loren Howard, manager of the southern Colorado electric co-op.

Last summer, the co-op launched a small pilot project in a residential area about three miles from the co-op offices with a goal of hooking up about a dozen homes to demonstrate the new system. During the next few months the co-op will begin offering Internet packages to residents of Creede, Colo.

Howard explained that soon, in addition to Internet service, the Ciello system will add phone service to the telecommunications packages that will be offered to its members.

 SLVREC manager, Loren Howard, says they are making excellent progress in building out their new fiber optic system across the San Luis Valley.


SLVREC manager, Loren Howard, says they are making excellent progress in building out their new fiber optic system across the San Luis Valley.

“In addition to providing our members with fast, reliable Internet service, which has not been available to many of our members in the valley, we are offering very competitive pricing that compares favorably to what people are paying in Denver and Colorado Springs,” said the co-op manager

.On Nov. 20, the co-op held a Ciello launch event that attracted nearly 100 co-op consumers to the co-op offices. Visitors at the launch party were treated to buffet luncheon, prizes and even a guest appearance from Tri-State’s Power, the symbol of the many ways that consumer-owned power brings comfort, convenience and productivity to our daily lives.

Guests at this event were also encouraged to visit with co-op staff on hand to demonstrate and explain the new fiber optic network and even take the new high-speed system on a little “test drive” on one of the co-op’s computer stations.

 

Colowyo Mine a strong supporter of youth recreation on its property

 

Colowyo Mine staff has supported youth hunts and recreation for groups like these since the 1990s.

Colowyo Mine staff has supported youth hunts and recreation for groups like these since the 1990s.

Owned and operated by Tri-State’s subsidiary Western Fuels-Colorado, the Colowyo Mine encompasses a vast tract of property that spans over nearly 140,000 acres of land.

This land supports not only one of Colorado’s largest surface coal mines, but also vast tracts of undisturbed land, abundant natural resources, diverse wildlife and a number of farming and ranching operations that are currently leasing land from the mine.

So, it comes as no surprise that as good stewards of the land and strong supporters of their surrounding communities, the mine staff has a long history of helping to sponsor and support youth recreation programs on mine property.

“Over the years, working with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) staff and our land lessees, we have supported multiple supervised youth hunts on our property as well as other recreational events such as CPW’s “Cast and Blast” program, where local kids are given the opportunity to go fly fishing and trap shooting on Colowyo’s mine property,” said Tonia Folks, land specialist at the western Colorado mine.

In the latest sponsored youth hunt, held on mine property over the weekend of Oct 24-26, up to 10 young hunters enjoyed a successful outing in search of cow elk.

In late September, three local teens were selected to participate in the first mentored waterfowl hunt on mine property.  “Colowyo Mine and lessee Duke Duzik were gracious enough to offer us access to the Big Bottom property,“ said District Wildlife Officer Evan Jones in a recent Craig Daily Press article. “In addition, the generosity of my fellow officers and the Moffat County Youth 4-H shooting program all helped to provide these kids with an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he added.

These supervised hunts are part of CPW’s Hunter Outreach Program, an ongoing effort to encourage women and youths to head outdoors and enjoy the state’s abundant natural resources.

“The next set of youth hunting adventures on mine property will be in December, when the CPW staff will assist local youths in harvesting cow elk,” said Folks.

Colowyo Mine is one of two fuel suppliers to Tri-State’s Craig Station. The mining operation employs about 220 people and is located approximately 10 miles north of Meeker, Colo.

J.M. Shafer Station boasts strong representation of veterans

flagTri-State is fortunate to have a strong representation of veterans among its employees. Each Tri-State employee brings a unique set of skills and talents to their role, and this Veterans’ Day, the team at J.M. Shafer Station is being featured for its military service and contributions to the association.

Of the 19 employees at J.M. Shafer, 11 have served in the U.S. armed forces – 10 in the Navy and one in the Army. With experience in the engine rooms of ships, the Navy veterans bring to Tri-State a familiarity with the workings of gas turbines and electronics – skills that transfer smoothly to the operation of the plant.

Of the veterans at J.M. Shafer, one served the 20 years necessary for retirement. Ray Perry, combined cycle foreman at J.M. Shafer, came to Tri-State in April of 2001, following two decades of military service. The teamwork he sees in his colleagues is a testament to the way they operated in the service.

“In the Navy, when you’re out at sea, you just have to do what it takes to get the job done, and that’s what this team does,” said Perry, “When you’re out on a ship and you have a fire, you can’t call the fire department, you have to take care of it yourself.”

That attitude and willingness to work toward a common goal is evident in the way the J.M. Shafer team operates. With a combined 100+ years of military service, they are a talented and hard-working group, and one of the many teams that keeps Tri-State operating smoothly.

  • Fred Dietrich – U.S. Navy
  • Matt Hill – U.S. Navy
  • Rob Holmes – U.S. Navy
  • Scott Leasia – U.S. Navy
  • Bob Locke – U.S. Navy
  • Mike Murray – U.S. Navy
  • Sherwood Nutz – U.S. Navy
  • Ray Perry – U.S. Navy
  • Richard Rhoads – U.S. Navy
  • Ken Schlueter – U.S. Army
  • Bill Trefethen – U.S. Navy

Hats off to Gigi Dennis

Gigidennis[1]Tri-State is proud to recognize employees who have recently earned a certification, completed a course or achieved a career milestone.

Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs, was recently honored as a “Top Woman in Energy” by the Denver Business Journal.

Recently, the Denver Business Journal and Women in Energy, Inc., named Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs, among their 2014 inaugural class of “Top Women in Energy.”

Dennis was honored, along with 40 other leaders in the energy industry at a private reception held on Oct. 29, at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.

“We are proud to recognize your accomplishments and help further the engagement of more women in leadership and mentoring positions in the Colorado energy industry for years to come,” said Pete Casillas, publisher of the Denver Business Journal.

The “Top Women in Energy” were also recently featured in a special section that was published in the Denver Business Journal.

Women in Energy is a Denver-based networking group for women involved in the energy industry in any capacity.  The group meets monthly to discuss and stay current on the latest issues in the energy industry.

In addition to her involvement in Women in Energy, the Tri-State senior manager is also a board member on Food Bank of the Rockies, the Foundation for Community Colleges and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Cooperatives foster connections for stronger communities

co-op-month-logoEach October cooperative businesses celebrate the unique business model they share. This year’s co-op month theme, “The Co-Op Connection,” highlights how co-ops connect their members and communities to opportunities they might not have access to on their own.

A variety of industries employ the co-op model, including credit unions, dairy operations, health care, child care, agriculture, housing and electricity. The unifying values that each of these businesses share can be summed up in the seven cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

This year, several co-ops are taking their celebration to social media with the #CoopMonth hashtag. Some are offering deals, highlighting accomplishments and putting out the call for community involvement. While co-op month is technically over at the end of October, the positive community involvement promoted by co-ops lasts all year long.

Observed every October since 1930, co-op month is a time to celebrate the power of working together. With more than 900 electric cooperatives, public utility districts and public power districts serving 42 million people in 47 states, the electric power industry has a lot to celebrate.