Dear Editor:

You may have already received your ballot in the mail from LPEA and wondered what it’s about. LPEA is a member-owned electric cooperative and we get to vote for its board of directors. When you see your ballot in the mail, please take a minute, fill it out and vote in this important election.

So, what does this election mean for our community? The decisions surrounding how we get our energy should be made with a clear vision for the health of our community and reflect the values of the people that live here, so vote.

As an electric consumer, you pay a base charge for your electricity and a usage rate. In many areas, there are tiered rate structures: the more you use, the more you pay. This incentivizes energy efficiency and conservation. Currently, the high base charges and low usage rates means those in small houses, like myself, pay a high base charge subsidizing great big homes that use far more electricity.

This stems from a bigger issue of where our energy is coming from. The LPEA annual report shows that some $70 million dollars is spent every year buying power elsewhere — mostly coal power. Seventy-percent of all generated LPEA revenue is paid to Tri-State for our energy. LPEA buys electricity, whether it is coal or renewable energy, from Tri-State on the Front Range. That’s a lot of our money being sent to the front range for mostly coal power when we could keep that here and use it for clean energy locally.

Local renewable energy projects would create jobs here where we live in addition to reducing the amount of dirty coal powered electricity. If you want more local renewable energy and all the local economic benefits that will come with it, join me in voting for new leadership on the LPEA board. When we spend money locally, that money circulates in our community and supports our neighbors. That is the simple idea behind the Buy Local campaign. It should apply to LPEA as well. It is time the LPEA Board of Directors wakes up to the idea that many of us would like to buy local, and that includes local power.

Fortunately there are some great candidates who are aware of LPEA’s problems and will make a difference if we elect them. In Archuleta County, I urge yoiu to vote for Mark Garcia.

Watch for your LPEA election ballot that was mailed out on April 19 and make sure to vote for Mark Garcia.

Zachary Ray


This story was posted on April 25, 2013.