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We have some serious problems with our LPEA (a member owned co-op and if you get an electric bill you are a member!), and that is why I encourage you to vote for Mark Garcia in the LPEA board member election.
LPEA has raised the fixed part of our monthly bills by 53 percent over the last two years and are planning on continuing to raise this base charge for years to come. Increases in our base charge rather than in our electricity rate (per kw/h) means that even if you choose to be more energy efficient, your utility bill is going up. If you buy efficient lighting or efficient appliances, your utility bill is going to go up. If you installed a solar electric system, your utility bill is going up. We do not get to participate in solar garden projects like our neighbors on the Front Range thanks to LPEA. We do not have tiered rates as many other communities have, which is a way to encourage conservation and renewables; we have the opposite (an increasing base charge). We also do not have virtual net metering. This is another way to encourage renewable energy on rental homes, commercial properties and solar farms. We need more energy independence and that means local renewable energy. If we could generate even 10 percent of our energy locally, that could result in a $20M positive impact on La Plata and Archuleta counties ($6.8M paid to Tri-State annually) x 3 (multiplier effect due to local spending). Of the 40,000 or so meters in LPEA territory, less than 1 percent have photovoltaic systems. We are far behind Colorado, the US and the developed world in renewable energy. It is time for a change. If you care about our community and a clean energy future, please vote in your LPEA board member election. Historically this election has very low voter participation, yet it is our opportunity to guide the energy future of southwest Colorado.
Katie McGee Waller