US Capitol Building, Washington DC – Tri-State works hard to keep electricity reliable and affordable for our members, and part of that effort includes the thorough review of any new regulations that would impact our industry.
Helping to elevate our association’s perspective to a national level, CEO Mike McInnes recently provided testimony at a hearing on the “Implications of the Supreme Court Stay on the Clean Power Plan” before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In his testimony to the committee on June 9, McInnes emphasized how, “as a cooperative, Tri-State operates differently and has different risks compared to investor-owned and municipal utilities, a fact EPA ignored in the Clean Power Plan and why Tri-State and other cooperatives were active in the rulemaking process and challenged the rule in court.”
Unlike investor-owned utilities whose rate of return gives these utilities an incentive to build new infrastructure, cooperatives and their members bear the full cost of compliance. These costs are spread over fewer customers. Typically, cooperatives have 1-11 consumers per mile while investor-owned and municipal utilities average more than 35.
McInnes explained the efficiency of Tri-State’s coal generation fleet, the association’s significant investments in renewables and energy efficiency, and the challenges of operating across five states with varying responses to the stay of the Clean Power Plan.
Following the attention received by an article in Cornerstone Magazine by Barbara Walz, Tri-State senior vice president Policy & Compliance and chief compliance officer, McInnes was invited to testify before the committee. The article outlined the unique challenges cooperatives face with the Clean Power Plan as they work to deliver affordable electricity to members in rural communities.