Tom Penner, journey level linemen, based at the Craig, Colo., transmission facility, has written an article that has just been published in Transmission and Distribution World magazine on a relatively new live-line procedure known as “rope access” that has proven to be as safe and efficient method for Tri-State’s transmission maintenance crews to perform work on energized lines.
Click here to read the article.
Some of Tri-State’s employees are tasked with educating students, educators and other groups on the many benefits that affordable, consumer-owned electric power provides in the daily lives of the millions of Americans. This effort is part of a multi-faceted Tri-State program to promote our industry and support the leaders of tomorrow.
Tri-State’s Jonathan Thornton recently visited with about 200 middle school kids at the Denver School of Science and Technology.
With that youth education goal in mind, Jonathan Thornton, strategic communications specialist, recently (March 26) visited Denver’s Middle School of Science and Technology to give a brief presentation on the association for a “careers in energy” program organized by the school. Thornton was joined by several other energy industry presenters on the program.
The Tri-State presenter kept his young audience engaged during his 15-minute slide show and talk with plenty of back-and-forth questions and answers about how electricity is used in our everyday lives, where it originates and how Tri-State’s role as wholesale power supplier to electric cooperatives fits into overall power supply picture. Continue reading ‘Employee brings “Tri-State 101” to classroom’
Approximately 400 electric cooperative representatives and industry officials attended Tri-State’s 62nd annual meeting April 2-3, in Broomfield, Colo., where they reviewed the wholesale power supplier’s performance and accomplishments, and addressed the numerous challenges and opportunities facing the electric utility industry.
At the meeting, the association’s board of directors was seated for the upcoming year, including the six officers and three at-large positions that make up the board’s Executive Committee. Under the cooperative business model, Tri-State’s board is made up of one representative from each of its member systems, serving as the democratically-elected governing body of the association.
Chairman of the board, Rick Gordon
Rick Gordon, representing Tri-State member co-op Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.), was re-elected chairman for a fifth consecutive term. Gordon originally joined Tri-State’s board in 1994 and served as vice chairman for 13 years prior to first being elected chairman in 2010. He has served on Mountain View’s board since 1992. Continue reading ‘Tri-State board officers elected following 2014 annual meeting’
Siting, securing the land rights, constructing and finally commissioning a new substation can sometimes be an arduous and, at times, even a contentious process. But, thankfully, that was not the case when Tri-State, member Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (Grants, N.M.) and the Laguna Pueblo Tribal Council worked together to improve electric service on their reservation.
Continental Divide’s board president, Keith Gottlieb (left) greets Richard Luarkie, Governor of Pueblo of Laguna tribal council at the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new substation.
The culmination of that cooperative spirit and hard work was celebrated recently (March 21) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the brand new Old Laguna Substation serving the nearby Native American village of Laguna, N.M.
The substation ceremony was hosted by Continental Divide Electric and attended by a crowd of about 50 people, including the Governor of the Pueblo and members of Laguna’s tribal council, Continental Divide’s general manager, board members and staff, Tri-State employees directly involved in the project and others who played a role in adding the new substation to the power supply system. Continue reading ‘New substation brings improved service to Laguna Pueblo tribe in N.M.’
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 systems.
Many of the association’s youth education programs are spearheaded by Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs.
This interesting and educational “Colorado Kids” reader on hydropower appeared recently in the Denver Post. It was produced with the help of Tri-State.
One such program series that has proved to be very successful is conducted through Tri-State’s alliance with the non-profit Agriculture in the Classroom organizations. They help help roll out free classroom readers and teacher study guide materials, as well as fun and educational Web site content for elementary school students living in communities in all four states of the Tri-State member service territory. Continue reading ‘Tri-State continues to support classroom education programs’
Angela Torres, senior manager of supply services, recently received the Salon Bennett Award for excellence in supply management.
Congratulations to Angela Torres, senior manager of supply services, on receiving the Institute for Supply Management – Cooperative Utilities’ (ISM-CU) Solon Bennett Award on March 6, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Tech Advantage conference held in Nashville, Tenn.
Solon Anthony Bennett was a former Director of Purchases and Stores for the City of Austin, Texas and an NRECA supply consultant. Continue reading ‘Senior manager of supply services receives supply management award’
Tri-State member, San Luis Valley REC dived into social media recently launching a Facebook page, twitter feed and a radio show to keep their members informed. These communication methods can provide timely updates for routine maintenance, offer an easy way for members to receive information about their electric service and provide a way for the cooperative to give information about services, such as energy conservation. They also plan to host a radio show Thursday mornings at 8:40 to discuss energy issues and provide timely information to their member-consumers. SLVREC can be found at www.facebook.com/slvrec and www.twitter.com/slvrec.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance have recently made available for review and public comment the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 65-mile, 230-kilovolt San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project to be constructed by Tri-State between northwest New Mexico and Ignacio, Colo.
The proposed San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project is expected to be under construction by late 2016.
The project also includes the expansion of Tri-State’s existing Iron Horse Substation, additions at The Western Area Power Administration’s Shiprock Substation and the construction of two new substations, Kiffen Canyon and Three Rivers, both in New Mexico.
The BLM will host two public meetings during the 45-day draft EIS public comment period on April 8 in Ignacio, Colo., and April 9 in Farmington, N.M.
The new line is needed to alleviate the strain that increasing electric load growth in the San Juan Basin areas of Colorado and New Mexico have caused on the region’s existing electrical system.
Among the project’s objectives are to improve electric system reliability, provide additional electric system capacity to support Tri-State member La Plata Electric Association’s (LPEA) requested capacity, as well as directly improving the load serving capability of the electric systems serving members LPEA, Empire Electric Association and San Miguel Power Association. Continue reading ‘Bureau of Land Management releases draft EIS for Tri-State transmission line planned for northern San Juan Basin’
Two of Tri-State’s member systems in New Mexico have recently added, or are planning to add, solar facilities to their renewable resource portfolios, while one Colorado co-op has a small solar garden in the works this spring.
Earlier this year, Otero County Electric added this 76-kilowatt solar garden to their system. It is owned and operated by the co-op.
By far, the largest of those three solar arrays will be Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative’s (Mora, N.M.) planned 1.5-megawatt solar plant slated for construction later this year by Standard Solar. Mora-San Miguel has signed a 25-agreement to purchase the output of the facility, which will be constructed approximately two miles east of the Storrie Lake Substation. The new solar plant will be owned and operated by Standard Solar.
Earlier this year, another New Mexico co-op, Otero County Electric Cooperative (Cloudcroft, N.M.), completed its first solar garden, which is owned and operated by the cooperative.
The 76-kilowatt facility is located adjacent to the co-op’s Alamogordo Substation. The solar garden is comprised of 253 panels producing a maximum of 300 watts per panel. Continue reading ‘Tri-State’s members adding solar facilities’
Research shows that carbon core conductor (shown) can operate at higher temperatures and move more energy than conventional power line materials.
Among Tri-State’s many collaborations to gain maximum leverage for its research and development dollars is an on-going project at the University of Denver (Denver, Colo.) that is focused on advanced carbon-core transmission line conductor analysis. This research is expected to eventually lead to the development of power lines that carry a greater amount of energy than existing traditional aluminum and steel conductor.
The University of Denver (DU) recently announced that this conductor testing will continue as part of a new research center that will be largely funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. DU, in collaboration with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Michigan Technological University, received this five-year renewable grant to collaborate with corporations to further basic materials research.
The mission of the Center for Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures is to provide a forum for industry/university cooperative research, including evaluation, design, modeling and the development of novel high voltage and high temperature materials and structures for energy transfer, aerospace, automotive and other applications. Continue reading ‘Tri-State-sponsored power line R&D to be part of new center planned at DU’
The 10-year power purchase agreement that Tri-State’s board of directors authorized in August 2012 is expected to come to fruition this spring when the Tri-County Water Hydropower Project begins producing power on June 1 for the G&T from its newly constructed hydroelectric generation plant at the Ridgway Dam and Reservoir in Ouray County, Colo.
Construction is nearly complete on the Tri-County Hydropower Project, which will supply power to Tri-State beginning in June.
The new hydroplant features two generating units – a 7.2-megawatt generator and a smaller 800-kilowatt unit – that will produce up to 8 megawatts of capacity and approximately 24 gigawatt-hours of energy during an average water year.
Under the terms of the agreement with Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Tri-State will purchase power from the Ridgway facility during the months of June, July, August and September and the City of Aspen will buy the power produced at this facility during the other eight months of the year. Despite the shorter seasonal duration for Tri-State, these are typically the year’s higher output months and the association estimates that it will receive about 60 percent of the plant’s annual generation output.
The Tri-County Water Hydropower Project is within the service territory of Tri-State member, San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.) and is receiving station electric service from the co-op. Continue reading ‘Tri-State to receive output of new 8-megawatt hydroplant beginning in June’
As the calendar turned over to 2014, Tri-State’s employee services group was already geared up to begin their 2014 recruiting circuit, which stretched over approximately 910 miles, at 6 universities, in 4 states.
Tri-State engineer and School of Mines alumni, Ryan Hubbard, explains different internship opportunities to a student.
Beginning on January 28th, Gigi Eschenberg and Rachel Jaakkola of the employee services team visited the University of Colorado, followed by stops at Colorado State University (February 5), University of Nebraska (February 13) and University of Wyoming (February 18). Plac Herrera, also of employee services, headed south to New Mexico University on February 5.
Engineers Joey Caruso and Ryan Hubbard assisted with recruiting at their alma mater, Colorado School of Mines.
This year, Tri-State has planned for three new rotation employees, two electrical engineers and a computer science or IT graduate, as well as five summer interns. The five summer interns will all be electrical engineering majors working in the following areas: system protection, system planning, transmission maintenance, system operations and EMS/MDMS support. Continue reading ‘Employee services staff hits the road recruiting for Tri-State’
NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson discusses the strength of the “co-op nation” during the opening general session of the 2014 NRECA annual meeting.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)’s 2014 Annual Meeting and TechAdvantage® Expo are taking place now through March 6 at the new Music City Center in downtown Nashville. Tri-State is a member of NRECA, which is a national service organization based in Arlington, Va., founded in 1942 to compile and disseminate rural electric information and to represent the national interests of cooperative electric utilities.
This year’s event, themed “Co-op Nation: Strong and Proud” includes a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and on Monday Jo Ann Emerson delivered her initial address as CEO to the rural electric Annual Meeting audience.
Attendees will also take in a performance by country music star Martina McBride and a closing keynote speech by acclaimed broadcast journalists Jane Pauley. “Her message of inspiration and possibilities truly reflects the spirit of Co-op Nation,” said Emerson.
More than one hundred volunteers helped build two energy efficient Habitat for Humanity homes in Fairview, TN as part of a community service project before the NRECA annual meeting.
The meeting kicked off Monday with a traditional community service project. More than 100 volunteers from Touchstone Energy electric cooperatives across the country helped build two energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity homes in Fairview, Tenn.
As always, the gathering will provide opportunities to network with co-op peers, learn from industry experts, and discuss critical resolutions that define the association’s mission. More than 8,500 electric co-op leaders are slated to attend, making the meeting the largest event to date in the Nashville Music Convention Center.
Wheatland REA’s annual meeting held on Feb. 26 in Wheatland, Wyo. marks the first of a long series of events held throughout the member service territory.
Wednesday (Feb. 26), marked the start of the 2014 series of Tri-State member annual meetings, beginning with Wheatland Rural Electric Association’s annual membership gathering held at the 4-H building in Wheatland, Wyo. This event marked the first of 37 meetings that Tri-State’s member services group, along with senior management staff members, will attend in 2014.
Along with the annual meeting, the co-op’s agenda featured a health fair with blood testing, as well as informational packets to raise awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle for its members.
Tri-State’s member services booth showcased residential LED light bulbs and the rebates and incentives that Wheatland REA members can receive from the co-op and Tri-State for replacing inefficient and outdated incandescent bulbs with LED lights. Residential member rebates offer either a 50 percent or $10 rebate (whichever is less) on any LED bulb purchase for up to 50 bulbs per year. Continue reading ’2014 membership annual meeting series kicks off in Wheatland’
Tri-State, in partnership with its member systems, is a strong supporter of promoting energy efficient practices and products through its long-standing Energy Efficiency Products (EEP) program that offers financial incentives for new technologies such as LED and induction lighting that help dairy operators reduce their energy costs. In support of that endeavor, Tri-State member services staff, along with employees from United Power, Morgan County REA and High West Energy, recently (Feb. 20) boarded a bus to embark on an energy efficiency tour of a local dairy operation.
View of milking parlor at the Shelton Dairy near La Salle, Colo.
The tour, hosted by the Western Dairy Association, in collaboration with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the Colorado Energy Office, was of the 2,300-cow, Shelton Dairy near La Salle, Colo.
The purpose of the tour was to learn about some of the many energy saving opportunities that are available at these types of dairy operations and discuss some of the efficiency gains that have already been achieved as a result of an energy audit that was conducted at this farm with the help of EnSave, a firm that specializes in energy efficiency in agriculture, along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading ‘Staff and membership personnel look at energy efficiency practices at Colorado dairy’
Tri-State staff captured this photo at the videotaping of the “Matchwits” program last fall in Pueblo.
Teams of high school students from across Colorado are in their second month of a four-month, weekly half-hour airing of the “Matchwits” competition on PBS television that is being sponsored in part by Tri-State and many of its Touchstone Energy co-ops based in Centennial State. The program can be seen on your local Rocky Mountain PBS channel at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Students representing 16 high schools from across Colorado converged in Pueblo last November for a three-day, single-elimination tournament that was recorded at the Rocky Mountain PBS studios on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Questions in the televised tournament are in the categories of English, history, geography, science, current events, math and more.
Along with directly supporting youth and education with a statewide impact, Colorado’s Touchstone Energy co-ops are receiving a significant amount of on-air, online and in-person exposure and recognition through their group competition.
This is the 29th straight year Colorado’s public television network has organized and held the high school academic quiz show, but this year marks the first time that the program was opened up to schools throughout the entire state, as opposed to only those in southern Colorado. The program runs through mid-April. Click here to learn more about the “Matchwits” program on the PBS Web site.
Tri-State has entered into a 25-year agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC for a 150 megawatt wind generating facility to be constructed in eastern Colorado in the service territory of Tri-State member, K. C. Electric Association (Hugo, Colo.).
Phase 1 of Colorado Highlands Wind was completed in 2012. Located in Colorado’s northeastern Logan County, it receives station electric service from Tri-State member, Highline Electric Association.
Under the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Tri-State will purchase the entire output and associated environmental attributes of the Carousel Wind Farm. The 150 MW facility will be Tri-State’s largest wind energy PPA to date. When the project begins commercial operation, the wind farm will provide affordable electricity to Tri-State’s 44 member cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
“This was a timely and cost-effective opportunity for us to diversify our generation fleet and deepen our expertise in the challenging area of integrating variable energy resources,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president.
The Carousel Wind Farm agreement was the result of a solicitation for renewable resources issued by Tri-State in early 2013, months before the Colorado legislature approved a new mandate doubling the renewable standard for the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Although the project will assist the association to meet that mandate, as well as a renewable energy standard in place in New Mexico, Tri-State believes such mandates are unnecessary and that the not-for-profit cooperative’s resource decisions should be directed by its democratically-elected board.
A NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary will construct, own and operate the Carousel Wind Farm.
The project will interconnect to existing Tri-State transmission facilities in the Burlington area and is possible only because of planned transmission upgrades in the area. The upgrades have been in the planning process since 2010 and are expected to be completed in 2016. Nebergall notes that constraints in the grid system are making it increasingly harder to site and construct generation facilities in the region. Continue reading ‘Tri-State signs agreement for 150-megawatt wind project in eastern Colo.’
Kevin Smith, enterprise security specialist, displays what is known in the security industry as the “triple crown” — the CPP, PSP and PCI board certifications given by ASIS.
Tri-State is proud to recognize employees who have recently earned a certification, completed a course or achieved a career milestone.
Congratulations to Kevin Smith, enterprise security specialist, on recently receiving his Professional Certified Investigator (PCI)® certification.
The PCI credential provides demonstrable proof of knowledge and experience in case management, evidence collection, report preparation and testimony to substantiate findings. Those who earn the PCI designation are certified in investigations by the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) board.
“We are extremely proud of Kevin’s accomplishment and his gained knowledge and experience will greatly benefit Tri-State,” said Allan Wick, enterprise security manager. Continue reading ‘Hats Off to Kevin Smith!’
This week, a dozen transmission maintenance and heavy apparatus employees gathered at Tri-State’s Sidney, Neb. field facility to attend and successfully complete the first of a series of 2014 crane certification classes that will be conducted at various Tri-State locations throughout the year.
One of Tri-State’s larger 43-ton capacity cranes used primarily by the association’s transmission maintenance crews.
“Our goal with this program is to run approximately 95 employees through this four-day certification class before the end of the year,” said Jim Griff, transmission maintenance manager of support services.
The program is being administered by Clint White, field training specialist (transmission). The certification instructors are Jerry Marrs, field training specialist (heavy apparatus), Wayne Martin, training coordinator (transmission) and Rodney Beason, training coordinator, who is also handling the crane certification for plant location employees.
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has yet to mandate that all employees who use boom and crane vehicles as a part of their job must be certified, “we believe in being proactive in our training programs and also have determined that this instruction is a priority in keeping our crane operators, and those employees working around them, safe at all times,” said Griff. Continue reading ‘Crane certification kicks off in Sidney’
It has been more than four months since Colorado’s Front Range, mountain areas and the eastern plains were inundated by flood waters that claimed 10 lives, destroyed nearly 1,900 homes and caused havoc to the state’s infrastructure, including washed out roads, bridges and power supply equipment operated by at least three of Tri-State’s member systems.
The northern Colorado town of Kersey was awash after the South Platte River left its banks.
According to member services personnel at United Power (Brighton, Colo.), Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Morgan County REA (Fort Morgan, Colo.), most of the restoration activities on their systems have been completed with some permanent fixes awaiting road repairs and other infrastructure projects.
By far, the hardest hit member system was United Power, which had more than 4,000 member consumers without power during the height of the storm, which began on Sept. 9, 2013 and lasted for nearly a week. “Last fall we still had portions of our electric system configured to provide back-up power while road repairs were completed,” said Laurel Eller, communications specialist at United Power. “Recently, we were able to complete equipment repairs and return the system configuration to its normal status, however, we still have some underground cable to repair in the Del Camino area,” she noted. Continue reading ‘Co-ops report most flood repairs completed’
Following a two-day strategic planning session held for the Tri-State board on Jan. 13-14, at Westminster headquarters, the association’s directors and several members of senior management staff boarded a chartered bus for an afternoon tour of a portion of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) complex, near Golden, Colo., followed by a visit to the site of NREL’s National Wind Technology Center in northern Jefferson County.
Dana Christiansen, with NREL, gives a brief overview presentation on the center prior to guided tours of the Energy Systems Integration Facility.
The tours were hosted by Dr. Bryan Hannegan and several of his colleagues at NREL. Hannegan, an NREL scientist and engineer, was a guest speaker at last week’s Tri-State monthly board meeting held Jan. 7-8 in Westminster.
Hannegan, who specializes in the field of renewable integration into the national power grid, provided a tour of NREL’s 182,000 square-foot, Energy System Integration Center, where about 200 of NREL’s 2,400 employees conduct simulations and research on small and utility scale technologies that are emerging in the marketplace.
A multiple vehicle hybrid vehicle charging station is being tested for client, Toyota Motor Co.
This one-of-a-kind facility is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories with megawatt-scale testing capabilities, integrated electrical, thermal and fuel infrastructures, advanced data analysis and visualization capabilities. Their testing ranges from the “smart” energy efficient home, performance characteristics of energy storage systems, to the grid impact of multiple hybrid vehicle charging stations. Continue reading ‘Board caps planning session with NREL tour’
It has been said that if you choose a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. While that may be a bit of an overstatement, it is clear from our visit with Jeff Umphlett, manager of Big Horn Rural Electric Company (Basin, Wyo.), that this is a man who truly enjoys his days working at this northwest Wyoming co-op.
Jeff Umphlett, manager of Big Horn REA, is a second generation co-op manager. His dad, James, was a long-time manager of the former Shoshone River Power.
“It is very gratifying to work with such a great group of dedicated employees and I really get a lot of satisfaction interacting with our members every day – it’s a great job,” said Umphlett.
Of course, this is not too surprising when you consider that the Big Horn manager grew up learning about the co-op business model from a veteran of the industry, his dad, James Umphlett, former long-time manager of Shoshone River Power, based in Cody, Wyo. Shoshone River Power was part of the Tri-State membership until the mid-1980s, when the co-op sold its assets to PacifiCorp.
The younger Umphlett decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and after a few years of working for an accounting firm in Denver returned to Wyoming to work for another former Tri-State member cooperative, Riverton Valley REA (Riverton, Wyo.) In the late 90s Riverton Valley REA and another former Tri-State member system, Hot Springs REA (Thermopolis, Wyo.), merged to become High Plains Power, based in Riverton. Continue reading ‘Small member co-op big on community involvement’
Tri-State director Jack Finnerty listens to Dr. Bryan Hannegan’s presentation at the January board meeting.
Tri-State’s board of directors welcomed notable National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientist and engineer Dr. Bryan Hannegan, who specializes in the field of renewable energy integration into the national energy infrastructure, as a guest speaker at yesterday’s monthly board meeting.
The presentation touched on the topics of future energy systems and their challenges, grid integration issues, the variability and forecasting of renewables, the impacts of generator cycling and more.
“The goal is to accelerate this clean energy future, but to do so in a way that’s durable – that doesn’t need a mandate, doesn’t need a subsidy, it just is,” said Hannegan.
Hannegan went on to discuss NREL’s approaches to addressing these issues in the laboratories of its state-of-the-art Energy Systems Integration Facility. The board and Tri-State’s senior management staff will have an opportunity to see the facility first-hand during a tour of the NREL complex near Golden, Colo. next week. Continue reading ‘NREL’s Dr. Bryan Hannegan speaks to Tri-State Board’
It has been a little more than six months since the most destructive fire in Colorado history killed two people and destroyed 488 homes in the Black Forest area served by Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.).
At least a dozen new homes are now under construction in the area stricken by the Black Forest fire last June.
Today, at least a dozen new homes are rising from the charred ruins and the co-op’s line crews are closing in on repairing service infrastructure destroyed in the blaze, according to Darryl Edwards, Mountain View Electric’s member services manager.
Edwards estimates that approximately 80 percent of the lines, poles, meters and other power supply equipment have been repaired or replaced in the impacted areas and according to El Paso County officials, approximately 90 construction permits had been issued in the Black Forest area by early December.
“We are now starting to shift our restoration efforts to lining up our contractors to begin clearing ‘hazard trees’ that pose a threat to our lines,” Edwards explained. “This is a major undertaking that could involve the cutting and removal of up to 20,000 trees — some of which are on private property and require landowner approval before we can cut them down,” he said.
The Black Forest fire destroyed 488 homes that were served by Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association.
Edwards pointed out that the co-op has received an extension from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through June of 2014 to complete this task. FEMA is shouldering 75 percent of the $5 million to $6 million cost of removing the hazard trees, as well as providing similar funding to assist El Paso County in removing dead or dying trees near roadways. Continue reading ‘Rising from the ashes: Mountain View consumers rebuilding after deadly fire’
Tri-State and its workforce have brightened many lives in many ways this year – especially this recent holiday season.
As Christmas was celebrated last week, the Powering the West team felt it fitting to share some of the ways that the association and its employees have generously given their time and resources to help our neighbors in recent weeks.
Food Bank of the Rockies
In late November and early December, the east-side employee association organized a food drive at Tri-State headquarters and collected 400 pounds of food — equal to roughly 1600 meals — for Food Bank of the Rockies.
Craig Station employees helped raise nearly $1,000 this season for the community’s Salvation Army agency.
Salvation Army – Craig Services Unit
In mid-December, Craig Station employees volunteered for an entire weekend as Salvation Army bell ringers outside Craig’s City Market store. Many employees also brought their children along to foster volunteerism. Their efforts helped raise nearly $1,000 for the Salvation Army.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Under the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives banner, Tri-State was once again a key sponsor of the Ronald McDonald House “Light the House” radiothon on KOSI radio, held Dec. 5. This year’s event set a new record, raising more than $170,000 for families in need at the Ronald McDonald Houses in the Denver area.
Nucla Cause & Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse
Employees of Nulca Station supported local families who are struggling financially by helping supply “Angel Baskets.” The baskets provide food, clothing, school supplies, prescription co-pays and more. Nucla Station also gave to the Montrose County Sheriff Posse’s West End Children’s Fund, which provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income households and to elderly citizens of the community. Continue reading ‘Tri-State and its employees celebrate a season of giving’
Flight operations personnel were recently lauded for recertification of their VPP Star Site status. Shown left to right are Josh Thompson, Barry Hitt, Gary Sumner, Rick Henkle, Phil Curry, Joe Mirando, Juan Pliego, Jeff Hamilton, Sam Taylor, Chris Stoltz and Ryan Munden.
There’s nothing up in the air about Tri-State’s flight operations personnel’s commitment to safety. That commitment was proudly put on display on Dec. 13 at the association’s aircraft hangar at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colo., where a group of Tri-State senior management staff, safety personnel and other guests acknowledged the hard work of Tri-State’s flight operations employees in earning a five-year Star Site recertification in the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).
VPP is a cooperative initiative between OSHA and businesses and industries to promote effective worksite-based safety and health management systems. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.
“Star Site” status, which Tri-State has earned at two of its worksites (flight operations and Escalante Station), is the highest level of recognition in VPP.
The association’s flight operations first earned Star Site status in VPP in 2010, for a three-year term. An OSHA follow-up audit of the airport site took place earlier this year and as a result of receiving a clean audit, Tri-State’s flight operations have been recertified as a VPP Star Site through 2018. Continue reading ‘OSHA reaffirms flight operations’ stellar safety practices’
Visit www.westernfuelscolorado.org to learn more about Tri-State’s mining subsidiary operations.
Through its management of the Colowyo and New Horizon mines, Tri-State subsidiary Western Fuels-Colorado has a productive and readily apparent presence on the landscape of the company’s service territory. With the launch of a new web site this month, Western Fuels-Colorado now has an online presence as well.
The new site, at www.WesternFuelsColorado.org, was developed by Tri-State’s communications team to help brand not only the subsidiary, but also the mining facilities themselves. With photographs and concise copy, the web site provides a location where the public, prospective employees, members of the media and others interested in learning more about the operations at Colowyo and New Horizon can go for information.
“The work done by Western Fuels-Colorado and the employees at our mining properties is essential to the success of Tri-State and its member systems,” said Mike Sorensen, senior manager of fuel and water resources. ”And as hard as we have worked over the last few years to fully integrate Colowyo and New Horizon into the association’s operations and processes, at the same time we want to make sure Western Fuels-Colorado establishes an online identity and has a channel for sharing appropriate information.”
“On behalf of the team at Western Fuels-Colorado, I want to thank all of our colleagues who helped with this project – particularly Rachel Jaakkola, a rotation employee in employee services, who contributed significantly to the web site development during her time in the communications and public affairs department.”
While Tri-State’s 100-megawatt Nucla Station in southwest Colorado was off line in 2013 for approximately two months during both of the lower demand ”shoulder” periods of spring and fall, plant employees ramped up to tackle a long list of maintenance and capital projects, some of which would normally be completed by outside contract firms.
During the outages, extensive repairs and upgrades were completed at the plant’s coal receiving and reclaim areas.
“Having the available personnel and extra time during the outages allowed us to get a lot more done than we usually have time to complete during our typical two-week fall outage,” explained Steve Sullivan, plant manager at Nucla Station. “In view of us taking on all those projects that we don’t normally do in-house, I am particularly proud of our employees’ excellent safety record this year,” he noted.
The station conducted its spring outage from March 15 through June 7. The plant was brought off line as a coal conservation measure while permitting was completed for a new mining site at nearby New Horizon Mine.
The fall outage, which is normally two weeks in length, was extended from Sept. 13 until Nov. 14 to allow time for coal deliveries to begin from the new mining site. Continue reading ‘Nucla Station outages yield long list of completed projects, plant upgrades’
Tri-State Pueblo-based linemen Reid Kelley (left) and Walter Greene work on a frosted structure on the Axil Basin to Hayden 138-kV line.
The unofficial creed of the U.S. Postal Service claims that “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” will prevent the mail from being delivered. Why “bitter cold” didn’t make the list is unclear, but any motto drafted for Tri-State employees who must venture outdoors to help keep the lights on would certainly describe their willingness to brave cruel winter weather.
During the recent brutal cold spell – during which temperatures around the association’s service territory plummeted to depths such as 2 below (Chama, N.M.), 12 below (Riverton, Wyo.), 16 below (Henry, Neb.) and even 36 below (Craig, Colo.) – no components of the Tri-State system experienced weather-related outages.
This was thanks, in part, to the hardy men and women who were undaunted by the conditions and continued to perform their operations and maintenance roles at the company’s generating plants, mining properties and transmission facilities.
“With more than a foot of snow and wind that helped drop the temperatures to 36 below zero in the area, our staff braved it all to keep the lights on,” noted Craig Station plant manager Rick Johnson. Continue reading ‘Tri-State employees brave brutal cold to keep the lights on — and win’