Residents in Chaffee County served by Sangre de Cristo Electric Association can expect to see their electric rates to continue to be high. The Association is under contract to Tri State Generating to provide power was well as transmission lines to theSDCEA service area. The SDCEA has very limited ability to add renewable power generated by rooftop solar or wind under the TriState contract. The contract runs until 2050.
TriState is known for it's capricious and arbitrary rate increases to it's customers. SDCEA has experienced such rate increases. Also, since Chaffee County is such a small portion of TriStates business, there is little to no possibility, or even desire, to negotiate a better rate. Because TriState provides power as well as transmission lines and there are essentially no other options, SDCEA is hamstrung in it's negotiations with TriState. Chaffee County's geography is like an island with few options.
The reason that the Association's rates are among the highest of any customers of Tri State is because of the rural nature of the service area, low density of customers as well as low overall number of customers. TriState simply must make a certain profit and have certain conditions in it's contracts in order to obtain financing to build and maintain its generating facilities.
One of these conditions of Sangre's contract with TriState limits to 5% the amount of renewable power that can be added to the power grid in Chaffee County. The Sangre de Cristo Electric association is prevented from expanding it's renewable energy portfolio by it's contract with Tri State Energy. The renewable project south of BV will almost totally max out the 5% allowed by the contract and limit SDCEA's ability to put online much more residentially generated renewable power.