Archive for the 'Public Outreach' Category

Colowyo Mine says ‘thanks’ with checks to local communities

Meekerchk250On Nov. 10 and Nov. 23, respectively, Chris McCourt, manager of western Colorado’s Colowyo Coal Mine, presented a check for $15,000 to the Craig City Council and a donation of $5,000 to the Rio Blanco County Commissioners (pictured) in Meeker as a way of showing gratitude for the many years of support of the mine by the residents of these Western Slope communities.

“Many of our 220 employees at the mine are proud to call the towns of Meeker and Craig home and are gratified to know that their friends, neighbors and local businesses support the work that we do at the mine to responsibly help provide affordable electricity to Coloradoans,” said McCourt during his presentation to the Rio Blanco County Commissioners. “This check is our way of saying thanks for your longstanding support,” he added.

Located approximately half way between Craig (in Moffat County) and Meeker (in Rio Blanco County) on State Highway 13, Colowyo Mine currently supplies more than half of the coal needed to operate the 1,311-megawatt Craig Station near Craig. Nearly 200 Colowyo employees live in Moffat County or Rio Blanco County, and the mine has an estimated $206 million economic impact on the region. Colowyo Mine is owned and operated by Western Fuels-Colo., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.


BLM releases draft EA on Montrose-Nucla-Cahone Transmission Project

– Rebuild of 80-Mile Line Will Support Regional Growth, Boost Grid Reliability

– Tri-State’s Preferred Alternative Would Promote Safety, Minimize Impacts on Grouse Habitat

 telecomchopper250WESTMINSTER, Colo. – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., a wholesale power supplier owned by 44 member electric cooperatives and public power districts, said today that it is encouraging the public to review a recently-released federal environmental analysis of the proposed Montrose-Nucla-Cahone (MNC) Transmission Upgrade Project. The company is also urging interested stakeholders to take advantage of a 30-day public comment period by expressing support for the utility’s preferred alternative for rebuilding the transmission line.

 Tri-State is proposing to rebuild and increase the capacity of the 80-mile MNC line that serves communities across southwestern Colorado, not only to replace aging infrastructure and increase grid reliability, but also to help meet new electricity demand. The existing 115 kilovolt (kV) line, in place for almost 60 years, will be replaced by a new 230 kV line and supported by a new substation and upgrades at two existing substations. The project will also replace fiber optic cable that is located on the existing line to ensure continued reliable emergency communications and broadband service for the region.

According to Tri-State Senior Vice President of Transmission Joel Bladow, the new line will benefit Tri-State’s members and the communities they serve. “Tri-State studied multiple ways to address the aging infrastructure, improve reliability and meet significant new demand in the region, and we determined that the MNC project was the best option,” said Bladow. “The upgraded line will help us meet the needs of our members for years to come.”

Because the existing line crosses lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the MNC project requires the completion of an Environmental Assessment (EA).

On Nov. 3, the BLM released a draft EA, triggering a 30-day public comment period (running through Dec. 3) that provides opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed alternatives and project benefits.

The draft EA identifies three construction alternatives. Under “Alternative A,” Tri-State’s preferred option, the utility would rebuild the line largely within the existing transmission line corridor – with the exception of diverting the current crossing of the Dolores River in western Dolores County to a new location approximately one mile downstream. The re-route is proposed to address safety, access and erosion concerns.

Bladow explained that the new crossing point would be more accessible, making it safer for construction and maintenance workers. “Safety is a top priority at Tri-State, but the existing span across the Dolores River creates real challenges for our maintenance staff. The northern takeoff point is located on steep, narrow, rocky terrain that is extremely difficult to access with vehicles and equipment for needed maintenance,” he said. “We are hopeful the BLM, Forest Service and other stakeholders will recognize that our proposed alternative offers a safer and more desirable location and will reduce erosion concerns by removing the current alignment from highly erosive soils.”

The other alternatives in the draft EA involve taking no action at all to improve the existing line – which would lead to further deterioration of the critical infrastructure, increase risk for electrical outages and threaten future service capacity – and diverting the existing corridor to accommodate a remnant population of Gunnison sage-grouse in the Dry Creek Basin in central San Miguel County. The BLM has proposed relocating 7.6 miles of line from its current route through the basin to a new alignment located along State Highway 141; the relocation would create an additional 1.3 miles of disturbance through Gunnison sage-grouse critical habitat.

As part of the 30-day public comment period on the draft EA, the BLM will host a public open house on Nov. 16 at Dove Creek High School in Dove Creek, Colo., from 5 to 7 p.m. Information is also available at the BLM’s project Web page:

In addition, Tri-State has established a website at to provide updated information on the project and to facilitate the submission of comments to the BLM.

 About Tri-State

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a wholesale power supplier, operating on a not-for-profit basis, to 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts serving approximately 1.5 million consumers throughout a 200,000 square-mile service territory across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. In 2015, Tri-State was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as Wind Cooperative of the Year.

 Media Contact:

Drew Kramer

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

O: (303) 254-3086

C: (303) 681-1341



DMEA donates fresh 4-H meat to local food banks

DMEAmeatshare250Fresh food is a rare commodity at food banks, but two pantries in Colorado received a special treat recently when Tri-State member, Delta-Montrose Electric Association (Montrose, Colo.), donated hundreds pounds of fresh meat to help feed families in the region.

As shown in the photo to the left, DMEA board members Bill Patterson (left) and Kyle Martinez (right) helped delivered 320 pounds of lamb and pork to Michelle Overmyer of Sharing Ministries in Montrose. In addition, the co-op also donated about 350 pounds of bacon and sausage to the Hotchkiss Community Methodist Church Food Bank worth about $700.

The donated meat is farm fresh, straight from junior 4H Livestock shows at local county fairs. The co-op also paid a local plant to process the meat.

“This year, by donating the meat we were able to make our support go further in our community and impact members we may have not have reached before,” said Becky Mashburn, the co-op’s marketing and public relations administrator.

Sharon Teter, of the Hotchkiss Food Bank, said it will take about two months to distribute the meat; the bank serves about 340 families every two months in the four communities that it serves.

The remainder of the pork and sausage, which went to Montrose Sharing Ministries, is being distributed to local families in need. “We distribute one pound of meat per person, or two, if we have an abundance of meat, which isn’t very often,” said Kathi Crandall of the Montrose Sharing Ministries. “It’s very exciting when we get meat donated like we got from DMEA,” she added.


Tri-Staters, co-ops pedal plains for fundraiser

PowerplainsteamLast weekend (Sept. 18-20), more than 800 bicycling enthusiasts turned out for Colorado’s fourth annual Pedal the Plains event that this year took riders on a 172-mile trek looping from the eastern plains towns of Julesburg to Holyoke to Sterling and back to Julesburg for the finish of the tour.

The Pedal the Plains is a celebration of Colorado’s agricultural roots and the state’s frontier heritage on the eastern plains. The bike route included education stops along the way at local farms, places to climb on machinery, opportunities to check out animals and time to celebrate Sugar Beet Days in Sterling.

Among the riders was the 17-member Powering the Plains bike team (pictured) comprised of staff and friends of Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, as well as Terri Marranzino-Ray and Jeff Lines from Tri-State. According to Mona Neeley, director of communications for Colorado Rural Electric Association, the team helped raise more than $3,000 for Energy Outreach Colorado, which provides assistance to Colorado’s neediest families and seniors for their home energy needs. Donations are being accepted through Oct. 15.

In addition to the fundraiser, Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives also co-sponsored this successful event. Among this year’s electric co-ops supporting the bike tour were Highline Electric Association, K.C. Electric Association, Morgan County REA, Mountain View Electric Association, Poudre Valley REA and San Isabel Electric Association.


United Power, Tri-State assist with efficient lighting for nonprofit riding center

CTRC250The Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC), a nonprofit organization based in Longmont that is devoted to changing the lives of people with disabilities by promoting equine assisted activities, was recently retrofitted with high efficiency LED light bulbs throughout their facility.

This project was made possible with funding from Tri-State member United Power, Tri-State’s Energy Efficiency Products (EEP) incentive program, rebates from Boulder County’s Clean Environment Program and Elevation Lighting Services Co., which donated the installation of the LED lights.

The project was spearheaded by United’s Bill Meier, who assists with energy efficiency upgrades and rebates for its membership.

“Initially, we noticed that the center could save a significant amount of money if they could afford a lighting upgrade, but with a limited budget, the project wasn’t their top priority,” said Meier. “But it’s not just about dollar savings when we work with our members. By working cooperatively with other community organizations to make a project like this happen, we can truly make life better for our members,” he added.

“Since the installation, staff members, volunteers and even the horses are seeing a difference,” said Heather McLaughlin,  CTRC program director. “The new lighting system has made the office environment more comfortable for families and the tack room is better illuminated, providing volunteers easier access to equipment. As for the horses at CTRC, they are striding into the arena a bit more confidently,” she said.

Funding for the project was derived from a $5,000 grant from United Power’s Operation Round-Up Foundation, a charitable organization funded by co-op members who “round-up” their electric bill to the next full dollar amount.

CTRC also received nearly $3,700 in rebates from Tri-State’s EEP program that provides incentives to member consumers of its 44 electric co-ops and public power districts who install energy efficient appliances and other equipment that helps them save money on their electric bills.

Boulder County’s Partners for a Clean Environment also provided nearly $4,900 in rebates to this community project.

Colowyo Mine Plan approved by U.S. Department of the Interior

  • Federal government completes court ordered review within 120-day deadline
  • New mine plan replaces challenged plan
  • Environmental assessment finds no significant environmental impact from mining operations

Colowyo251The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved and signed a modified mine plan for Colowyo Mine, which was subject to a federal district court order requiring the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) to update its environmental review of the mine.

In addition to the new mining plan, on August 31, 2015, the OSM completed a new environmental assessment for the mine, resulting in a finding of no significant impact on the environment from mining operations.

The approval of the new mine plan completes the effort by OSM to comply with the court’s May 8, 2015, order to complete the environmental review within 120 days. OSM’s counsel has notified the court that it has completed the environmental review and approved a modified mining plan.

“We are grateful to the staff at the Office of Surface Mining and the other cooperating agencies for their diligence and hard work to complete the environmental review within the short timeframe ordered by the judge,” said Mike McInnes, chief executive officer of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which owns Colowyo Mine through its subsidiary, Colowyo Coal Company.

“The unwavering support we have received from our 220 mine employees, the community and elected officials across Colorado helped ensure the Department of the Interior, from Secretary Jewell down, committed the resources and time necessary to complete this important work,” added McInnes.

Colowyo Coal Company believes the new mine plan allows the mine to continue to operate and the completion of the environmental assessment, finding of no significant impact and mine plan will satisfy the court, but it is uncertain how the court will proceed.

“The approval of the new plan should provide our employees and the residents of Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties with the confidence to move forward and focus on the future,” said Chris McCourt, Colowyo Mine’s manager.

Colowyo Coal Company is owned by Tri-State, which purchased the Colowyo Mine in 2011. Tri-State is a not-for-profit wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts that serves 1.5 million members throughout 200,000 square-miles of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Colorado’s Touchstone Energy co-ops help raise record $531,300 at livestock sale

Tylersteer250Cowboy and cowgirl hats are officially off to Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives who were among the sponsors of annual Junior Livestock Sale held Sept. 1 at the Colorado State Fair, which raised a record $531,300 benefitting Colorado’s youth involved in Future Farmers of America and 4-H programming.

Tri-State and its member Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are proud to be long-time supporters of this event and the 4-H and FFA organizations that are rooted in rural communities served by many of association’s 44 member cooperatives and public power districts.

The auction is the pre-eminent opportunity for young agriculturalists to literally see the value of their hard work. More than 90 steers, hogs lambs, goats, rabbits and chickens hit the auction block at the Southwest Motors Events Center in Pueblo.

Among this year’s participants was Tyler Camblin (pictured) of Holyoke, Colo. Tyler is the son of Kris Camblin, line superintendent for Tri-State member Highline Electric Association. His 1,293-pound steer, Diesel, won the division 4 category at the auction. The Denver Rustlers purchased the Camblin’s steer for $4,200, which his mother, Marla Camblin, says he will put towards his college education.

This year’s Junior Livestock Sale raised about $50,000 more than last year’s auction total of $481,200.

“This sale is the culmination of long hours and dedicated work of Colorado’s 4-H and FFA exhibitors. The participants are a showcase of tomorrow’s agricultural leaders,” said Chris Wiseman, state fair general manager.


Volunteer linemen needed in Haiti next month

Haitipic250The National Rural Electric Association’s (NRECA) International Foundation has asked for our help in putting out a call for volunteer Class A certified journeymen linemen to travel to Haiti between Sept. 5-29 to assist in bringing electricity to the rural communities of this Caribbean nation.

In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought massive destruction to the island country, killing more than 230,000 people, injuring 300,000 and leaving more than a million inhabitants homeless.

If you are a qualified lineman, have availability between Sept 5-29, the NRECA International Foundation needs your help in Haiti. No previous international experience is necessary. If you are interested or would like to learn more about this program, contact Maria Wimsatt at or call 703-907-5645.

The NRECA International Foundation is the charitable arm of NRECA and helps to bring electricity and its inherent benefits to the people of rural areas in developing countries.

The foundation delivers electricity to developing countries by coordinating and supporting co-op employees throughout the U.S. Co-ops participate by sending employees who volunteer their skills, donating used vehicles and electric equipment and providing funding.


DMEA using prepay to help past-due members

DMEA250Past-due accounts are a sore spot for utilities. But one Tri-State member co-op found an innovative way to help members pay off what they owe and get on a sound financial footing.

The offer is this: Sign up for My Choice prepaid metering and you’ll be eligible for help with past-due balances.

“If a member comes in with a disconnect notice they have the option to pay in full for their power to be turned back on, or enroll in the My Choice program,” said Becky Mashburn, marketing and public relations administrator at Delta-Montrose Electric Association (Montrose, Colo.).

“A member can roll over up to $500 of their past-due balance onto My Choice. As they put money on their account 30 percent goes to pay off the old balance and 70 percent goes to the purchase of new electricity,” Mashburn said.

Prepay, she added, “offers a permanent solution for eliminating the fees that can add up when members get behind—late fees, disconnect fees, and reconnect fees. With My Choice, there are no fees, and members are able to be take control of their energy costs, rather than falling further behind.”

Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC), a non-profit providing energy assistance to low-income residents, has committed $100,000 to help DMEA members transition to prepay.

Members signing up for My Choice are eligible to receive EOC funds to reduce past-due balances. EOC money can also cover the $140 cost of the My Choice in-home display, a device that has dual benefits.

“It is the best and easiest way for members to see what they are using and receive notifications about their account balance. This leads to energy efficiency because members become more aware of how much energy they are using daily, and make behavioral changes to lower their usage,” said Mashburn.

The co-op is also partnering with its local Health and Human Service Departments to promote My Choice as a solution for people who chronically struggle with past-due balances.

Pedal the Plains with Colorado’s electric co-ops

Pedalplains250Register now to join Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives as they participate in the Pedal the Plains event next month.

The annual 172-mile bike ride around northeastern Colorado will be held Sept. 18-20, looping from Julesburg to Holyoke to Sterling and back to Julesburg. Now in its fourth year, the tour is expected to draw 1,200 riders and their support teams to northeastern Colorado, where the rural areas are served by electric co-ops.

The ride includes educational stops along the route that teach riders about the agricultural roots and frontier heritage of the eastern plains of the Centennial State.  There will be opportunities to stop at farms along the route, places to climb on machinery, chances to check out the animals and time to celebrate Saturday night Sugar Beet Days in Sterling.

The co-ops, which are among the supporters for the ride, will also sponsor bike team riding under the “Powering the Plains” banner.  This team will raise money for Energy Outreach Colorado. To pledge your support for the team’s worthy cause visit To sign up for the ride contact Colorado Country Life’s associate editor Donna Wallin at

Tri-Stater among DBJ’s ‘Top Women in Energy’

SHunterpicrevEarlier this month, the Denver Business Journal published an article announcing the “Top Women in Energy” for 2015. Tri-State’s Susan Hunter, business development manager, was among the honorees this year. Hunter is recognized for her work with conventional and renewable electric generation projects.

Hunter was chosen based on her expertise, leadership and personal commitment to her community. She has been recognized because of her success in leading and implementing renewable energy projects. Her contract negotiations have led to almost 400 megawatts of new renewable generation in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, and she continues to build relationships and expand Tri-State’s renewable portfolio.

“I get to see projects being built, and see them in motion. It’s tangible. I like that aspect of my job,” Hunter told the Denver Business Journal.

This is the second year that the Denver Business Journal has recognized 40 women who are influencing Denver’s energy sector. Hunter was nominated by last year’s Tri-State honoree, Gigi Dennis.

Tri-State, SMPA team up for sponsorship of Axel Bicycle Classic in Sept.

axel-1-sm250Later this summer, riders participating in the 48 – or 80-mile charity ride over southwest Colorado’s Dallas Divide into Placerville, or Telluride and back, will be treated to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery that the nation has to offer when the annual Axel Project Bicycle Classic hits the road on Sept. 5 in Ridgway, Colo.

Tri-State, and its member system, San Miguel Power Association (Ridgway and Nucla, Colo.) are proud to be among the sponsors of this event aimed at raising awareness of the recreational and health benefits of kids and their families getting out on their bikes and raising funds to make more bicycles, helmets and equipment available to everyone.

“Tri-State, under the Touchstone Energy Sponsorship fund, and member San Miguel Power each contributed $1,500 to the event, while Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Bismarck, N.D.) provided a matching fund of $2,000, which allowed us to sponsor at the $5,000 level,” said Brad Zaporski, manager of member services at San Miguel Power.

The Axel Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the fundamental principle that a productive, happy life begins with bikes. Their mission is to introduce and nurture a lifelong passion for cycling to children and their families.

The Axel Project was created several years ago in honor of Axel Micah Charrette, who died in February 2013. During his short life this young boy left a mark on almost everyone he came in contact with and his kind soul, joy of life and love of bicycling continues to serve as an inspiration to others.

Participating riders in the Axel Classic will have the enjoyment and satisfaction of knowing that they are promoting a sport that they love (bicycling) while pedaling through some of the most spectacular scenery in the West.

“This event is very important to the Ridgway community and draws a majority of its participants from our service territory and throughout Colorado. This is the co-op’s first year sponsoring this event and we are very pleased to be a part of it,” added Zaporski.

Power, the representative of all the work that electricity does for the consumers of the association’s 44 member electric cooperatives and public power districts, will also make a guest appearance at the kid’s adventure zone during the day’s activities.

Fossil Ridge High Schoolers are 2015 Matchwits champions

250Congrats to the 2015 Matchwits champions representing Fossil Ridge High School. Tri-State joined Poudre Valley REA and Power Works For You to congratulate the team on their impressive achievement! [Read more]



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.

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.

Junior Livestock Sale supports youth in agriculture

Penny Chambers, employee at Mountain View Electric Association (middle), with daughter Cheyenne Chambers and niece Shelly Chambers prior to the Livestock Sale.

Penny Chambers, employee at Mountain View Electric Association (middle), with daughter Cheyenne Chambers and niece Shelly Chambers prior to the Livestock Sale.

For the ninth year in a row, Tri-State, the Colorado Rural Electric Association and Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives were well represented at the Colorado State Fair (Pueblo, Colo.) in support of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America kids participating in the annual Junior Livestock Sale (Aug. 26).

There are many connections to Tri-State including various youth in the member co-ops’ service territories. Two entrants in the market lamb category were Cheyenne Chambers, a 17-year-old from Limon, Colo, and her 18-year-old cousin Shelly Chambers. The Chambers family is located in the Mountain View Electric Association service territory and Cheyenne’s mother, Penny Chamber, is a warehouse employee for the co-op. Both Cheyenne and Shelly raised their lambs from birth and proudly showed off their hard work during the Livestock sale. Cheyenne’s lamb sold for $1,400 and Shelly’s lamb netted $3,000.

Other Livestock Sale co-op connections include Tyler and Kaylee Camblin, children of Highline Electric employee Chris Camblin, who both participated in the market beef sale. Additionally, Tri-State was recognized for purchasing a goat from Cassidy Jagers through the Denver Rustlers. Cassia is the granddaughter of Lawrence Brase who sits on the Southeast Colorado Power Association Board. Continue reading ‘Junior Livestock Sale supports youth in agriculture’

Colorado Touchstone Energy golf fundraiser marks third successful year

Power finds the winning golf ball from the Touchstone Energy hot air balloon ball drop.

Power finds the winning golf ball from the Touchstone Energy hot air balloon ball drop.

The third annual Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Golf Classic held Aug. 18 at Perry Park County Club near Larkspur, Colo., will go down in the books as another major success for the state’s participating electric co-ops and the local community sponsors who raised $5,000 for five regional food banks.

“This year we upped our game with the participation of Power, the new symbol of all that co-op-provided electricity brings to our daily lives and the Touchstone Energy Balloon, which was provided by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association,” said Darryl Edwards, chairperson of the event and member services manager for Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association (Limon and Falcon, Colo.). Continue reading ‘Colorado Touchstone Energy golf fundraiser marks third successful year’

Co-op kids mix fun with energy education at youth leadership camp

Co-op campers perform a mock swearing in session for an NRECA legislative simulation.

Co-op campers perform a mock swearing in session for an NRECA legislative simulation.

Approximately 90 high school-aged teens recently enjoyed a glorious week of summertime fun in the Rockies mixed with some electric co-op energy education thanks to their local electric co-ops.

Campers from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma converged on the Glen Eden Resort near Steamboat Springs, Colo., on July 13th for a jam-packed five-day agenda of activities ranging from volleyball tournaments, and river rafting to a high voltage safety demonstration and a power plant tour.

“The kids seem to really appreciate the balance that we try and provide between offering a lot of the traditional camp recreation activities along with opportunities to learn about how an electric co-op functions and a little bit of the science behind how electricity is produced and delivered to their homes,” said Jonathan Thornton, Tri-State’s strategic communications specialist and operations manager of the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp. Continue reading ‘Co-op kids mix fun with energy education at youth leadership camp’

Tri-State among Wyoming conservation award sponsors

Pat and Sharon O’Toole were honored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Tri-State and others for their environmental stewardship on their 130-year-old cattle and sheep ranch in southern Wyoming.

Pat and Sharon O’Toole were honored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association,
Tri-State and others for their environmental stewardship on their 130-year-old cattle and sheep ranch in southern Wyoming.

Tri-State is proud to be a sponsor of the coveted 2014 Leopold Conservation Awards that were given to ranchers and farmers in the states of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming who demonstrated extraordinary achievement in environmental stewardship of their land. On July 10, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead proclaimed that date as Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day in honor of the O’Toole family’s Ladder Ranch located in southern Wyoming.

The Environmental Stewardship Tour and celebration, held July 10, at the Ladder Ranch attracted nearly 100 government officials, legislators, sponsors, fellow ranchers and friends. The ranch visitors were treated to an all-day agenda of presentations, ranch tours, lunch, dinner and evening entertainment on this 1,600-acre scenic property located near the confluence of the Little Snake River and Battle Creek.

The Ladder Ranch, which is electrically served by Tri-State member Carbon Power & Light (Saratoga, Wyo.), has been in the Salisbury/O’Toole family since the 1880s. Continue reading ‘Tri-State among Wyoming conservation award sponsors’

Father’s Day weekend storm damages two Tri-State lines

Significant storm damage impacting more than 7 miles of line and structures required line crews and considerable fleet equipment (shown) on site.

Significant storm damage impacting more than 7 miles of line and structures required line crews and considerable fleet equipment (shown) on site.

Some of the association’s transmission maintenance crews had to postpone their Father’s Day weekend celebrations last month to respond to a call for emergency line repairs in the wake of a massive storm that damaged two Tri-State lines in eastern Colorado on the evening of June 14.

Robert Rojas, senior manager of transmission maintenance, provided a brief presentation on the storm event and subsequent line damage to Tri-State’s board during last week’s monthly meeting in Westminster.

According to Rojas, a severe storm moved into the Burlington, Colo., area during the early evening of June 14. The storm first struck Tri-State’s Big Sandy to Landsman Creek 230-kilovolt line at around 6:20 p.m., inflicting heavy damage to about 7 miles of line and 29 H-frame structures. However, no load was lost to local member K.C. Electric Association (Hugo, Colo.).  About 30 minutes later the storm continued to track to the northeast when it struck Tri-State’s 115-kilovolt Burlington to Bonny Creek line, taking out two structures and causing a 20-megawatt load loss to K.C. Electric. Continue reading ‘Father’s Day weekend storm damages two Tri-State lines’

Power visits the Colorado Energy Expo


Power uses the hand-crank display in Tri-State’s booth at the Colorado Energy Expo

Power uses the hand-crank display in Tri-State’s booth at the Colorado Energy Expo

Power arrived at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on Friday morning, June 27 as part of the Colorado Energy Expo.  Tri-State G&T exhibited with a 20’ x 20’ booth where Power made appearances throughout the day. The event was free and open to those in the electric industry as well as to the public. Hundreds of consultants, engineers and friends of the energy industry visited Tri-State’s  booth to learn more about Tri-State’s services, pose for pictures with Power and experience the exhibits about electricity.

Within Tri-State’s booth, Poudre Valley REA demonstrated electric safety on a table-top display, creating an arc of electricity, which drew the attention of passers-by.  Tri-State’s self-generation-hand crank display provided a “hands-on” exhibit that demonstrated the amount of power it takes to light a CFL bulb versus a standard incandescent bulb. Continue reading ‘Power visits the Colorado Energy Expo’

Annual Tri-State-hosted energy conference for educators wraps up

Richard Rhoads and other plant personnel at J.M. Shafer Station recently welcomed educators for a plant tour.

Richard Rhoads and other plant personnel at J.M. Shafer Station recently welcomed educators for a plant tour.

School is finally out  for nearly 50 educators from across Tri-State’s four-state member service territory. They signed up to participate in the third annual three-day NEED (National Energy Education Development) conference held last week (June 25-27) at headquarters.

It is hosted and sponsored by the association and its member systems. Vernon Kimball, a retired school teacher and NEED instructor, conducted most of this year’s program along with plenty of support and guest appearances from Tri-State staff.

The primary goal of this conference is to promote energy industry knowledge among the educators in the hope that they will be more likely to include this topic in their classroom curriculums this fall. The lessons presented are S.T.E.M. certified, so they comply with education standards. Continue reading ‘Annual Tri-State-hosted energy conference for educators wraps up’

Youth Tour participants visit Denver and Washington, D.C.

Youth-Tour-2014_15A group of 28 Colorado high school students participating in this year’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour visited United Power last week (June 12) to learn about electric cooperatives, the electric utility industry and to get a general idea of how electricity is generated and transmitted before heading to Colorado’s capitol building and then jetting off to Washington D.C. for a week of activities visiting officials, seeing the sights and meeting their peers from across the country.

Tri-State strategic communications specialist Jonathan Thornton helped organize and present during the day’s events to prepare the tour participants for their week-long experience in our nation’s capital.  They viewed a safety demonstration courtesy of United Power’s linemen and played “The Price of Electricity is Right” to learn about the value of electricity and the cooperative business model.  Dispatch Manager Michael Houglum provided a tour of dispatch Thursday night describing the three electric grids and how they balance generation to load. Continue reading ‘Youth Tour participants visit Denver and Washington, D.C.’

Tri-State supports Colorado Future Farmers of America convention

Colo-FFA-Washington-Leadership-tourGigi Dennis, senior manager external affairs, represented Tri-State at Colorado’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention and awarded the scholarships for the Washington Leadership tour. This year’s Colorado FFA convention was held in Alamosa on May 29 and almost 1,400 students and staff attended Adams State University for the event.

Tri-State has a history of contributing to the statewide FFA foundations in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico. Those funds support FFA students who attend the annual Washington Leadership Conference in our nation’s capital. The event gives them an opportunity to learn how the federal government operates, tour the city and meet their state’s elected officials. Continue reading ‘Tri-State supports Colorado Future Farmers of America convention’

Power is unveiled to employees, board members and member systems

All employees were invited to participate in the unveiling of Tri-State’s new “Work of Power” outreach campaign at June’s monthly management meeting on Friday, June 6.  The meeting gave all Tri-Staters the opportunity to learn about the Power campaign consisting of print and television advertisements, and Power public appearances at member systems’ annual meetings.  The 250 employees that attended the monthly management meeting in the Hub Thompson Room saw Power’s new television advertisement, met him in ‘person’ and posed for pictures with the star, while at least an additional 50 employees attended the meeting remotely.

Lee Boughey, senior manager, enterprise communications & public affairs, explains the origin of the Power campaign.

Lee Boughey, senior manager, enterprise communications & public affairs, explains the origin of the Power campaign.

Lee Boughey, senior manager, enterprise communications & public affairs, explained the origin of the Power campaign, the process of creating the character and showed the television advertisement.  He also shared Power’s Twitter account and Facebook page and finally introduced Power himself.

On-stage, public affairs coordinator Sarah Carlisle talked while Power communicated by holding up cue cards and together, they emphasized the importance of Power in our work, home and personal lives and how, without Power, it would be impossible to charge cell phones, operate washing machines or even brew a  morning cup of coffee. Carlisle encouraged all employees to ‘Like’ Power’s Facebook page and to visit to learn more about Power. Continue reading ‘Power is unveiled to employees, board members and member systems’

A shocking demonstration of electric safety

Farm-Safety-DaySan Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (SLVREC), a Tri-State member co-op in Monte Vista, CO gave a demonstration on electric safety to 250 third graders that they won’t soon forget. SLVREC’s 12th annual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day included a high voltage electric safety demonstration. Ray Martinez and Dave Mixa, the presenters from SLVREC, explained that the 7 and 8 year-olds were extremely attentive when they see the power of electricity in real life.  Martinez and Mixa discussed and showed the dangers of electricity, what to do if the child or the child’s family encounters a downed power line and how electricity works.

SLVREC educates children as well as adults on electric safety.  It sponsors the Louie the Lightning Bug program which is held in classrooms for first graders, as well as high voltage demonstrations for adults using a portable high voltage demonstration trailer. SLVREC also takes its show on the road and tailors safety demonstrations to an organization or group’s needs.

Tri-State trains educators on teaching electricity in classroom

Ag-in-the-classroom-01Tri-State has a longstanding reputation and strong commitment in its support of youth education programs aimed at empowering the leaders of tomorrow, as well as telling our story of the value that consumer-owned power brings to farms, ranches, businesses and communities served by the association’s 44 member co-ops.

Tri-State welcomed 12 school teachers and educators from around the country to our headquarters as part of the Ag in the Classroom program, an annual, free educators’ energy conference that was held May 15 and 16. ‘Making the Connection’ was this year’s theme and the tagline, “Energy + Agriculture = Success,” reinforces Tri-State’s commitment to enhancing the agricultural connection in our service territory. Continue reading ‘Tri-State trains educators on teaching electricity in classroom’

Second graders talk sustainability at Tri-State

Second-graders from a local school recently were guest presenters at HQ to talk about sustainability efforts at their school.

Second-graders from a local school recently were guest presenters at HQ to talk about sustainability efforts at their school.

If you think that American kids in our schools today don’t have much interest in weighty issues like sustainability, preserving our natural resources and saving energy, then you should pay a visit to Northglenn, Colo.’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Magnet Lab School, where kindergarten through eighth-grade students are gaining practical experience in dealing with “real world” problems.

Recently (May 15), the school’s approximately 50 second-graders were invited to hone their presentation skills before a volunteer panel of Tri-Staters in Westminster’s Hub Thompson conference center.

The event was organized in large part by Brenda Patricolo, a Tri-State projects accountant and mother of two students attending the STEM school. Patricolo, whose daughter, Brooklyn, was among the second-grade presenters, said that each of the kids gave about a five-minute presentation on some of the many aspects of renewable energy use and sustainability.  Continue reading ‘Second graders talk sustainability at Tri-State’

Rotational employees tour United Power’s headquarters

(Editor’s note: Thanks to Jason Musso, a headquarters-based rotational employee, for submitting the following story).

Ron Asche, United Power Chief Executive Officer, talks to Tri-State rotational employees.

Ron Asche, United Power Chief Executive Officer, talks to Tri-State rotational employees.

United Power hosted an event at their headquarters building in Brighton for the active and alumni Tri-State rotational employees on April 30.  The highly anticipated agenda  included a facility tour and an array of upper-level staff presentations.

The day began with Troy Whitmore, United’s Director of External Affairs welcoming the Tri-State group. He then introduced the group to various upper-level staff. Ron Asche, United’s Chief Executive Officer, gave the visitors a quick introduction and history of the cooperative, emphasizing that United covers 900 square miles of service territory and that the co-op purchases approximately 10% of Tri-State’s total member sales. Whitmore and Myke Weis, Manager of Operations, then conducted a tour of United’s facilities. Following the tour a variety of United Power employees gave presentations to provide insight into what goes on day-to-day in their cooperative. Continue reading ‘Rotational employees tour United Power’s headquarters’