In a decision that once again showed the benefits of cooperative membership, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s board of directors las week approved the return of $30 million in patronage capital refunds for 2020 to its members.
Patronage capital represents each member’s ownership and investment in Tri-State, and is an accumulation over the years of the net margins earned by and allocated to those members. Including 2020, Tri-State has returned $130 million to its members over the past five years.
“The return of patronage capital truly represents the strength of the cooperative business model and the benefits of belonging to Tri-State. This refund provides a significant return of investment and inflow of cash for our members, strengthening their balance sheets and contributing to their overall financial strength,” said Rick Gordon, chair of the Tri-State board and director of the Mountain View Electric Association in Limon, Colo.
In early October, Tri-State’s board of directors also approved the power supply cooperative’s 2021 budget, with no proposed wholesale rate change. Tri-State continues to provide long-term
rate certainty for its 42 utility members in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico. Tri-State noted that wholesale rates for utility members would not change for the fifth year in a row.
Also in October 2020, Tri-State’s board of directors announced a goal to reduce its wholesale rates to members by 8% by the end of 2023.
Tri-State’s wholesale rates provide for the long-term, firm delivery of power to the cooperative’s members. The wholesale rate includes all of the services required for delivering power, including energy, capacity, ancillary services, transmission, and a wide range of other
products and services.
Tri-State board sets budgets, and rates are set annually for power and services to the cooperative’s utility members. Tri-State is subject to wholesale rate regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), similar to other wholesale power suppliers nationwide.
“Our efforts to maintain stable rates and control costs, even during the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, upholds our mission of providing a reliable, affordable and responsible supply of electricity, in accordance with cooperative principles,” Gordon said.