Year after year, Tri-State strives to consistently deliver on its commitment to provide affordable and reliable electricity to its member co-ops while managing the risks facing the association (and the electric utility industry) and meeting its corporate objectives and financial goals. As always, there were significant events throughout the past year that shaped, impacted and defined the G&T’s operations — all of which have been captured in our annual “major events” document, housed in the media kit section of Tri-State’s web site (and a synopsis of which follows):
1. Financial and operational results — Tri-State closed its 2012 books with $1.3 billion in total operating revenue and $52.8 million in net margins. Energy sales to the 44 member co-ops reached a record 15.7 million megawatt-hours, while non-member sales totaled 3.0 million megawatt-hours. The G&T’s member peak demand for the year occurred in July, topping out at 2,798 megawatts, up 5.4 percent from the previous year’s peak of 2,654 megawatts.
2. 2013 budget/rates — Tri-State’s board approved the association’s 2013 cost of service of $1.34 billion, the majority of which is allocated to fixed cost items and other committed expenses. The board also approved a 4.9 percent rate increase for 2013, which adjusts the average member whole rate to approximately 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Overall, the G&T remains on solid financial footing, reflected by the three major rating agencies affirming Tri-State’s “A” rating during the year.
3. Integrating new resources — Tri-State made great strides throughout the year in integrating the operations of two facilities that were acquired in late 2011 – the Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado and a 272-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant located in Fort Lupton, Colo. (since named J.M. Shafer Generating Station in recognition of the former Tri-State general manager).
4. Power plant maintenance and upgrades — In power production, favorably priced blocks of replacement power – secured by Tri-State’s marketing group – allowed power plant employees to extend their planned outage timelines during the “shoulder” months (fall and spring). As a result, plant crews and contractors at Escalante, Craig and Nucla stations accomplished significantly more than the typical year of both critical and non-critical path projects aimed at boosting reliability and longevity at the facilities.
5. Transmission improvements — Tri-State’s maintenance groups and contractors undertook a long list of improvement projects on the association’s network of transmission, substation and telecommunications sites throughout the service territory. Included in those projects was the long-awaited completion of the 51-mile, 115-kilovolt Nucla-Sunshine line and ancillary substations in southwestern Colorado.
6. Renewable resources flourish — Tri-State’s renewable energy portfolio expanded in 2012 with the completion and addition of the 67-megawatt Colorado Highlands Wind project in northeast Colorado. In addition, by year-end Tri-State member systems had 28 local renewable projects – either on-line or planned – that are projected to provide up to a combined 41 megawatts of renewable generating capacity for their member-consumers.
7. Wildfires wreak havoc — Wildfires ravaged hundreds of homes, threatened lives and left a lasting scar across thousands of acres of torched timberland throughout several parts of Tri-State’s member service territory, in what was one of the worst fire seasons in recent history. The two most devastating events in co-op territory – the High Park Fire and the Little Bear Fire – directly impacted the operations of member co-ops Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Otero County Electric (Cloudcroft, N.M.), respectively, causing millions of dollars in property damage and disrupting service.