Although the line crews of electric co-ops are well trained and always ready to quickly respond in any emergency to restore power and do whatever is necessary keep their consumers safe, Tri-State member Poudre Valley REA’s (Fort Collins, Colo.) employees’ skills as first responders have really been put to the test over the past couple of years. A little over a year after the floods and two years after the High Park Fire, the memories of the hard work put into restoring power during the disasters will never be forgotten by the co-op and by the communities that they serve. [Read more]
If climbing transmission towers for a living sounds daunting then consider the adrenaline rush that must factor into the job of crews that rely on a specially designed, high altitude helicopter that dangles them above the nearly inaccessible (by road) mountainous terrain to reach the transmission line towers of a Tri-State line near scenic Silverton, Colo.
The contractor crew’s job is to remove the existing static line on a 17-mile segment of the association’s Cascade-Silverton 115-kV line from the Durango Mountain Resort to the west side of Silverton and replace it with an optical ground wire that contains a core of fiber optic strands for upgraded communications and broadband services to the area.
The contractor performing the work on Tri-State’s line is Atkinson Power LLC, based in Bethesda, Maryland. The project is being funded by EAGLE-Net Alliance. EAGLE-Net is a Broomfield, Colo.-based intergovernmental entity which operates a cost-sharing cooperative that delivers a carrier quality broadband network to more than 170 communities in Colorado. Continue reading ‘Aerial installation of optical ground wire on Tri-State line wraps up this month’
According to Indiana Reed, public information officer for Tri-State member La Plata Electric Association (Durango, Colo.), members of the co-op will have the opportunity to offset a portion of their electric bills with local renewable generation produced from up to six community solar gardens to be located in La Plata County. She said the projects are slated for completion by the end of this year.
Tri-State member Empire Electric Association’s board of directors recently announced that Josh Dellinger, Empire’s system engineer, will become the cooperative’s new general manager on Jan. 1, 2015, replacing the retiring Neal Stephens.
“Josh was our number one choice and the vote was unanimous,” said Bill Bauer, Empire’s board president. “The board is confident that he has the qualities to carry out the difficult tasks that lie ahead,” he added.
Dellinger has ten years of experience in the power industry. Beginning in his college years, he completed two internships with investor-owned utilities and worked for over two years as an electric power analyst with the Department of Defense. Prior to his position at Empire Electric, Dellinger worked for seven years as manager of technical services and engineering for Glacier Electric Cooperative in Montana. Continue reading ‘Empire Electric announces retiring GM’s successor’
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’
Earlier this month, Tri-Stater Angela Poe and her partner, Shawnalea, were offered a rare opportunity to soar into the early morning sky in a hot air balloon, courtesy of Tri-State, which was awarded tickets for two people aboard one of the airships participating in the Moffat County Balloon Festival held Aug. 2-3 at Loudy Simpson Park in Craig, Colo.
Tri-State and Craig Station, in particular, are supporters and sponsors of this annual summer event.
Poe, who is a plant operator at Craig Station, wrote about her experience noting that she felt like she had “won the lotto,” when she learned that she had been selected for this unique aerial excursion. Originally, the free balloon ride was awarded to Tri-Stater, Janice Nicoletto, but she was unable to attend the event. Continue reading ‘Tri-Stater wins balloon ride at G&T-sponsored festival’
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’
Tri-State staff members held their 2014 Electric Resource Planning Public Input Meeting on Friday, Aug. 8 at the association’s Hub Thompson Conference Center in Westminster.
Tri-State participates in a resource planning process, which includes a plan filed every four years beginning in 2010, with updates made to the plan each year. The planning process involves projecting future needs, assessing the existing assets available to meet those needs and identifying any resource gap so that Tri-State can continue to provide reliable and affordable electricity.
Planning for resources involves developing and assessing alternative scenarios based on a range of growth rates, resource costs, capital costs, types of generation resources, energy efficiency programs, levels of emissions, water usage and other considerations. The various alternative resource plans are compared on the basis of cost, environmental characteristics and other factors. Continue reading ‘Public updated on Tri-State’s resource plan’
Celebrating their 75th annual meeting, Otero County Electric invited its membership to join them at Cloudcroft high school in Cloudcroft, N.M. this past Saturday, August 2. The meeting was attended by over 400 member-owners with the board and staff presenting reports on the financial status of the co-op and a video featuring members reminiscing when the lights first came on at their homes and ranches.
Jennifer Goss, senior vice president, member relations, presented on the association’s status, and its recent implementation of the relationship manager program. Kevin Groenewold, executive vice president and general manager of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Assn. also spoke on local and national legislative issues.
Making an appearance during registration and performing a skit with Jon Beyer, member relations manager, Power shook hands and bumped fists with Otero County member-owners while passing along the message about the work that power does in people’s everyday lives. Power also met NRECA mascots, LED Lucy and CFL Charlie, and the local troop of Boy Scouts who were helping logistically with the annual meeting.
- Visit Power’s Facebook page to see more photos from the event and give the page a “like.”
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’
Credit Tri-State’s 300 Craig Station employees with the hard work, focus and tenacity that it took to reach an unprecedented safety milestone of having worked for more than 1 million hours without a lost workday injury at the association’s largest (1,303-megawatt) generating facility.
Plant employees were honored for their accomplishment earlier this week (July 15) with a visit and presentations by executive vice president and general manager, Mike McInnes and Barry Ingold, newly appointed senior vice president of production.
Ingold presented a plaque recognizing this achievement to Paul Perez, lab technician and union safety steward for Craig Station and Jim Nicoletto, machinist mechanic and chief steward for the local chapter of the IBEW. Continue reading ‘Craig Station employees celebrate 1 million work-hours without a lost-workday injury’
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’
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’
July 5 is International Cooperative Day! The United Nations’ International Day of Cooperatives is observed on the first Saturday of July each year by the International Cooperative Alliance. Some of the day’s goals are to increase the awareness of cooperatives and to strengthen partnerships between the international cooperative movement and supporting organizations such as governments.
Tri-State G& T is proud to celebrate International Cooperative Day. Concern for the community is just one of the seven cooperative principles that all cooperatives abide by. By placing you, our members, at the center of our focus, we aim to deliver a distinctive form of “shared value.” Visit Tri-State G&T to learn more about our principles and why we honor International Cooperative Day.
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’
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’
As any of Tri-State’s transmission maintenance crew members will tell you there are a significant number of potential hazards associated with working on energized, high voltage equipment. But, these days live-line maintenance is often a necessary part of the job and thanks to Bill DePue’s inventions, some of those required maintenance procedures are now more efficient, faster and, most importantly, safer with the use of his innovative Tri-Clamp and Boo-Sher Socket.
“On transmission lines, installing energized jumpers (electrical connections between two points in a circuit) can be one of the more difficult and potentially dangerous jobs that we do,” explained Tri-State’s inventor and line maintenance superintendent, Bill DePue. “I knew there had to be a better way to do it,” he added.
Indeed, the 40-year veteran of the electric industry did find a better way to do it. DePue introduced the Tri-Clamp and the accompanying Boo-Sher Socket (named for his wife and daughter) to Tri-State’s maintenance crews about two years ago and his fellow co-workers have nothing but praise for their many on-the-job uses. Continue reading ‘Tri-Stater’s invention boosts safety, reduces fatigue for maintenance crews’
A 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.’
Gigi 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’
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, 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 PowerWorksForYou.coop to learn more about Power. Continue reading ‘Power is unveiled to employees, board members and member systems’
Tri-State staff, member co-op personnel and a crowd of about 150 officials and guests gathered near the base of the Ridgway Reservoir and Dam in Colorado’s Ouray County, on June 6, for the dedication of Tri-County Water Conservancy District’s new 8-megawatt hydropower project that began producing renewable power for Tri-State on June 1 under a 10-year power purchase agreement.
This is a somewhat unusual project in that the water district actually has two customers purchasing power from the new hydropower plant’s generating units. The larger portion – approximately 60 percent — will be purchased by Tri-State between June and September and for the remaining months the plant’s output will be sold to the City of Aspen.
This new hydroelectric facility was built with the assistance of Tri-State, which extended a line to the site and constructed a new switching station to connect the plant to the power grid. Station service to the power house and Tri-County’s ancillary plant facilities is provided locally by Tri-State member San Miguel Power Association, based in Ridgway and Nucla. Continue reading ‘Ridgway hydropower project adds to Tri-State’s renewable portfolio’
Tri-State G&T is proud to announce its own Mary Ann Zehr as the winner of the Rocky Mountain Electric League’s (RMEL) Emerging Leader Award.
The Emerging Leader Award recognizes and honors RMEL members who are up and coming in their company and have had 5-10 years of experience in the industry, established significant contributions within their organization and demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing service in the electric utility industry. The award was presented to Zehr and seven other members at the RMEL Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference in May.
“Tri-State has been a longtime member and supporter of RMEL that is dedicated to sharing ideas, techniques and programs to better serve the industry and its customers. We are very excited and proud of Mary Ann receiving this very prestigious award and for her numerous accomplishments in the industry,” said Joel Bladow, Senior Vice President of Transmission. Continue reading ‘Tri-State’s Mary Ann Zehr receives RMEL’s Emerging Leader Award’
Tri-State’s board of directors has unanimously chosen Michael McInnes as the association’s executive vice president and general manager. McInnes had served in that role on an interim basis since March 2014.
“Mike demonstrates daily the leadership and character that motivates our employees and strengthens our relationships with our members,” said Rick Gordon, chairman and president of Tri-State. “This combined with his deep industry knowledge and passion for the cooperative business model makes Mike uniquely qualified to lead Tri-State into the future.”
“I’m honored by the board’s support and grateful for the opportunity to lead this outstanding association’s talented and dedicated employees,” said McInnes. “I’m humbled by the responsibility Tri-State has to deliver to our members the affordable and reliable electricity that is essential to the rural way of life, and I’m confident we can move forward to meet the challenges facing our association and industry.” Continue reading ‘McInnes appointed Tri-State executive vice president and general manager’
Last month (May 14-16) in San Antonio, Texas, members of Tri-State’s communications department and several member co-op employees received national recognition as winners in the annual “Spotlight on Excellence” awards program, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Council of Rural Electric Communicators.
Participants in the communications competition went head-to-head with colleagues from electric co-ops of similar sizes across the U.S. in 18 different categories. Electric cooperative communicators and marketing professionals submitted more than 750 entries in the Spotlight on Excellence program, now in its 26th year.
Tri-State received a Silver Award for its Network Magazine, which is distributed quarterly to Tri-State employees and its member systems. The Tri-State communications staff also received a Silver Award for its monthly electronic newsletter, e-Bulletin, as well as a Silver Award for its annual in-house Communications and Member Services Conference that attracts membership staff to headquarters each fall for this long-standing and popular two-day event. Continue reading ‘Tri-State, member systems receive ‘Spotlight on Excellence’ awards’
San 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 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’
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’
(Editor’s note: Thanks to Jason Musso, a headquarters-based rotational employee, for submitting the following story).
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’
Tri-State, San Isabel Electric Association and Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are proud to be among this year’s sponsors of the 2014 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement by private landowners in voluntary conservation. This year’s winners are Gary and Georgia Walker.
This award is named for renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold.
Tri-State and its member systems are also helping to support the Leopold Award winners in Nebraska and Wyoming, which will be included in a more in-depth article appearing in the upcoming summer edition of the association’s Network Magazine.
On a massive 30-mile long spread near Pueblo-West, Colo., Gary and Georgia Walker, owners of the 65,000-acre Turkey Creek Ranch, have demonstrated a passion for protecting wildlife, rare plant species and an overall commitment to long-term land stewardship that is sure to inspire other farmers, ranchers and conservation leaders throughout the state and country. Continue reading ‘Tri-State among proud sponsors of Colorado Leopold Conservation Award’
After nearly eight months of construction, Tri-State’s Burlington, Colo.-based employees, comprising the transmission maintenance crew and the Burlington Generating Station group, will move into a new facility as soon as next week if all goes as planned, according to Ben Mayer, Tri-State’s general facilities manager.
The new building, which is sited on Burlington Station’s premises, approximately 6 miles north of the eastern Colorado town of the same name, is essentially a smaller version of the association’s Northern Colorado Maintenance Center (near Frederick, Colo.) with many of the same energy efficient features, such as skylights, in-floor heating in the garage bays and exterior LED lighting.
The new structure will also house the Burlington Station control room, which is being moved from the old on-site facility. Continue reading ‘Burlington field facility construction wraps up, experienced combustion turbine manager retires’