WREA wins rate dispute with Tri State: members will benefit

MEEKER I White River Electric Association (WREA) reached a successful resolution to its wholesale rate complaint case with its power supplier, Tri State Generation and Transmission Association (“Tri State”).

The WREA and Tri State board-approved settlement will result in a direct benefit to all WREA member consumers. This settlement resolves a two-year challenge to Tri State’s rate design that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
In March 2013, WREA filed a compliant against Tri State with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission challenging the legality of Tri State’s new wholesale rate design. Tri State’s had dramatically increased WREA’s cost of wholesale power and impacted all of WREA’s rate classes.
WREA’s complaint withstood jurisdictional and other challenges from Tri State. The case was set for a weeklong trial beginning Nov. 3.
WREA was able to negotiate a successful settlement in the days leading up to the hearing date. The Preliminary Settlement Agreement vacated the hearing, established a new wholesale rate design for 2015, and, in the long run, allows WREA to maximize Tri State’s Products and Services to the benefit of the WREA membership.
WREA General Manager Alan J. Michalewicz said, “It has been a long process that required perseverance and hard work. Fortunately, it was all worth it. Our board’s leadership and determination was essential in our success.”
Michalewicz also praised the hard work of his staff and predecessor Dick Welle, saying, “Clearly it was a team effort. White River has a great group of folks who were willing to fight for the best interest of the company and our members.”
Michalewicz also recognized Tri State’s efforts in this case, saying, “White River believes that the positive resolution of this case will make for a stronger Tri State into the future.”
“WREA began this case based upon principles related to the wholesale rate design and those principles guided us to a successful resolution,” he said. “In the end, it’s pretty simple. It is our job to work every day for the benefit of our membership. We are happy we were able to achieve this success together with our members.”
Michalewicz also stated that WREA is in the process of analyzing budgets and rates for 2015, but that he remains optimistic that this settlement will have a significant financial benefit to WREA and its member consumers. He said the 2015 rates will be finalized by the end of November with notice to membership in December.