Rural electric cooperatives seeking to leave the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association have received exit fee estimates in a federal filing and it adds up to billions of dollars
The respective price tags for two Colorado co-ops in the forefront of the exit movement — Brighton-based United Power and Durango-based La Plata Electric Association — were $1.5 billion and $449 million.
“These exit fees are still barriers to leaving,” said Eric Frankowski, executive director of the Western Clean Energy Campaign, an environmental advocacy group.
Some of Tri-State’s 43 member co-ops have voiced a desire to develop more homegrown and cleaner electric generation – they are required to buy 95% of their electricity from the association, which still has substantial coal-fired generation.
“This does not move the ball,” United Power CEO Mark Gabriel said. “I think they are off by three zeros,” he said of his co-op’s exit fee.