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Celebrating 75 years lighting up the plains

Mountain View Electric Association held its 75th annual meeting June 2. The member-owned electric co-operative has been providing electricity to the rural parts of the Pikes Peak region ever since 249 rural residents came together in 1941 to use the federal Rural Electrification Act to string power lines from Colorado Springs to Limon. Today, about 48,400 homes and businesses are served by the co-operative utility. Families representing about 200 co-op memberships attended the meeting at Falcon High School. The event included dinner, activities for children, demonstrations about electrical power and the business meeting.All customers of the utility, which serves Falcon, Monument, Black Forest and the plains areas to the east to Limon, are member-owners of the co-operative; and allowed to attend the annual membership meetings to vote on issues facing the utility.Errol Hertneky and B.D. ìBudî Paddock were re-elected to three-year terms on the board. This year marked Paddock’s 45th year on the board of directors. Both candidates were unopposed.Upward rate pressureJoe Martin, board president, told the members that MVEA continues to face pressure to increase rates because of increased costs of generating electricity for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the wholesale power supplier for many co-operative utilities in the region. ìRegulation from state and federal governments, the war on coal — those are just some of several things that create upward pressure on rates and a price increase,î Martin said. Energy production costs increased about 5 to 6 percent over the last year, he said.A cost of service study was conducted to determine which types of customers generated what levels of profit or loss for the utility, and whether there should be changes to the rate structure to improve parity among the different rate classes. ìWe decided we should strive to have a minimum of 5.7 percent rate of return, and each class needed a rate increase to make this happen,î Martin said. ìIn April, a rate increase went into effect; and, by June, everyone should have received at least one bill with the new rates.î Residential customers received a 3.6 percent rate increase. Irrigation received a 10 percent increase, and municipal water and outdoor lighting customers also received larger increases.Capital credit checks to members continueThe capital credit rebate checks that many MVEA customers receive as member shareholders of the utility were discussed. ìThe board continues to feel that capital credit retirement is a key component of being a co-operative,î Martin said. ìYou should know that not all co-ops retire capital credits. We do. And we’ve been told by outside sources that we have an aggressive and robust retirement cycle, and we’re proud of that.îThe board decided to stay with a hybrid method of determining which members would receive capital credits. Eighty percent of the rebate amount for the year would be split among members who were on the system from 1999 to 2000, and 20 percent for those who were members in 2013. ìWe also voted for a total payment of almost $4 million; which, if memory serves me right, is the largest since I’ve been on the board,î Martin said.EPA clean power plan on holdJim Heron, chief executive officer, gave an update on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which the utility and Tri-State Generating has been closely following. ìThis was a mammoth plan and would have a devastating impact on you, the customer,î Heron said. The plan would try to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030. ìThis was the most ambitious climate-related initiative taken by the EPA to this point, and the Supreme Court stayed the plan until litigation is complete. That means the plan is on hold,î he said.Scholarships and other awards givenCollege scholarship recipients and essay contest winners were recognized. About $14,000 in scholarships were awarded to high school seniors throughout the service area. Essay contest winners will represent MVEA at the National Rural Electric Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.The 2016 essay contest will be accepting entries through November 18. For information about the essay contest and the new school year’s scholarship program, visit the MVEA website at

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