The Colorado Independent,2020
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Former Republican state Sen. Williams Schroeder says a current bill aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of the state’s largest rural electric association is a form of punishment for the co-op's past resistance to efficiency mandates. While the head of Colorado's most progressive co-op agrees that legislation isn't the way to make IREA go green.
A tiered system of electrical rates that increase as residential consumers increase their use, especially during peak consumption periods, has ignited a power play between Colorado's electric co-ops. According to one rural co-op CEO, who helped draft a bill that makes such rates possible, the industry's future is moving greater use of renewable sources and energy conservation. Another co-op chief, heavily tied to coal-fired power, argues a voluntary alternative-energy system will sock residents in the pocketbook when they can least afford it.
If you’re one of the nearly 137,000 members of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), a sprawling co-op providing power in 10 counties between Denver and Colorado Springs, you may have noticed a little something extra with your bill this month. Or you may not have.
A coup attempt by radical greenies or a long-overdue transition to a more environmentally balanced, 21st-century energy policy? Depending on who you talk to, that’s the way the debate is being framed as Colorado’s largest rural electric co-op, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), faces one of the most critical — and contentious — board elections in recent memory.