GUEST COMMENTARY
Wrapping Up a Very Busy 2011
by Kevin Ritter, SMPA General Manager
Dec 15, 2011 | 6085 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The year 2011 was a big year for San Miguel Power. We announced an upgrade to our electric distribution system through the installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure. We revamped our energy efficiency rebates. We released requests for proposals for local renewable energy projects and selected a firm to develop a community-owned solar project. We added another local renewable resource to our energy mix and began purchasing hydro power from Ouray Hydro. We celebrated National Cooperative Month for the first time by welcoming our members into our offices for complimentary refreshments. We launched a new energy efficiency program called San Miguel Power Partners. We began construction on an important tie line near Colona. We continued work on the Nucla-Telluride transmission line. We held our first annual children's holiday card coloring contest. We were busy to say the least.

 

And, it looks like 2012 is shaping up to be just as busy. But, before we say farewell to this year, I want to update you on a few projects.

 

Advanced Metering Infrastructure Our first batch of meters went in the last week of November. We installed these on the homes of SMPA employees and board members, as well as at various end-points in order to ensure all of our equipment was functioning properly. Our contracted meter technician from HD Supply is now busy completing meter installations in Silverton. We expect to complete work there by mid-January. Then we're off to the West End.

 

2012 Electric Rates: As I mentioned last month, our wholesale power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, announced a 4.8 percent increase in the price of wholesale power. While this means SMPA's costs will be going up, we do not yet know how this will affect your electric rates. We are working with our rate consultant to determine the impact to SMPA and our members, but we anticipate there will likely be an increase in your electric rates this spring.

 

On a similar note, our rate consultant is also reviewing the structure of our demand rate. We listened to the concerns of our members and have asked the consultant to examine the rate and how it is applied.

 

Community-funded Solar: This past spring we released a set of requests for proposals, which asked developers to submit their ideas for local renewable energy projects. SMPA's Board of Directors selected the Clean Energy Collective to pursue the development of a community-funded solar project. I'm happy to report that we have finalized a contract with CEC. They will be constructing a one-megawatt solar facility in Paradox Valley. The facility will be community-owned, meaning members can buy into the solar garden by purchasing one or more of the solar panels. They'll then receive a monetary credit for the energy their panel(s) produces.

 

These projects represent just a few of the major undertakings SMPA worked on this past year. Please help me say thank you to SMPA's employees for the many accomplishments mentioned above. So, as I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I hope you help me do the same for SMPA's great employees.
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