Brighton-based United Power has picked Guzman Energy to become a wholesale supplier beginning in May 2024, after an exit from Tri-State.
Montrose-based Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) made the decision to switch from Tri-State to Guzman in 2020.
Under the United Power agreement, Guzman will meet approximately one-third of the cooperative’s power needs. With approaching 110,000 members, United is Colorado’s second largest electrical cooperative.
As a result of its 900-square-mile service territory in the high-growth areas wrapping around the north and west side of Denver International Airport, United has had annual growth in electrical demand of 6%.
United Power has not disclosed where the rest of the power will come. Trista Fugate, the chief marketing officer for United Power, promised that more announcements will be forthcoming.
A press release from United and Guzman stressed that the agreement features “fixed wholesale power pricing that provides the cooperative predictable and stable power supply costs.”
Mark Gabriel, chief executive of United Power, cited Guzman’s “excellent track record of providing economical resources for cooperatives.” The company’s “commitment to integrating renewables will help us control costs while still keeping our eye on environmental impacts,” he added.
The 15-year contract represents the biggest deal yet for Guzman, the Denver-based company that since 2016 has made a business of picking off electrical cooperatives and municipal providers currently supplied by Xcel Energy and Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
Guzman’s first major customer, in 2016, was Kit Carson Electric in New Mexico, which had been supplied by Tri-State. It then picked up Delta-Montrose in 2020. It is also scheduled to provide electricity to Fountain plus six other municipal utilities in southeastern Colorado. Those contracts have not yet started. Its most recent success was in picking up the business of two other electrical cooperatives that serve the Grand and Yampa valleys on the Western Slope.
But before United hooks up with Guzman, it must become disentangled from Tri-State. Gabriel has consistently declared that United will be legally gone from Tri-State next May. Before that can happen, though, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must rule on what formula will constitute a fair and equitable exit fee when cooperatives leave Tri-State.
Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist who publishes an e-magazine called Big Pivots. Reach him at email@example.com or 720-415-9308. Read his e-magazine at BigPivots.com. The mission of Big Pivots, a Colorado-based non-profit, is to document, understand, and educate about the changes made necessary by climate change. Those changes include the generation and consumption of energy, water use and availability, and other areas of urgent attention in the 21st century and beyond.