Westminster, Colo. – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association today announced the addition of MIECO Inc., as its first new, non-utility member. The addition of MIECO, a wholesale energy services company, supports Tri-State’s transition to cleaner generation resources, including renewable energy and natural gas, and helps the cooperative meet the challenges of today’s competitive electric utility market.
MIECO, a subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation, is headquartered in California and has offices located throughout the country. MIECO supplies natural gas to purchasers throughout the U.S., including Tri-State for its power plants across its multi-state region.
“Tri-State is rapidly changing to be increasingly clean with more renewable resources,” said Duane Highley, CEO of Tri-State. “Natural gas generation helps us reliably integrate renewables. Adding MIECO to our membership helps ensure that we have enough firm natural gas pipeline transportation capacity and fuel to supply our existing and any new natural-gas fired power plants.”
“MIECO looks forward to partnering as a member of Tri-State,” said Dave Engbrock, vice president of MIECO. “Our membership helps us deepen our relationship with Tri-State and recognizes the importance of natural gas for reliability in their transition to renewables.”
“We have been working with MIECO for years, and today we are further aligning our interests to the benefit of all our cooperative’s members,” said Tri-State Chairman Rick Gordon. “MIECO will be eligible for patronage capital allocations and have voting rights at all membership meetings, but will not have a seat on the Tri-State Board of Directors.”
Tri-State becomes fully rate regulated by the FERC
The admission of MIECO, Tri-State’s first member that is neither a small electric cooperative nor a government entity, results in Tri-State becoming subject to rate regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Under the Federal Power Act, FERC regulates the rates of wholesale electric service and transmission providers.
Tri-State has considered FERC rate regulation since 2010, and in April 2019, the cooperative’s membership approved the ability for the board of directors to add new classes of members to the cooperative. Other new members may be announced in the future.
Tri-State’s move to FERC rate regulation is consistent with other similarly situated wholesale generation and transmission providers that have faced disparate rate treatment by different state regulators and opted to be rate regulated by FERC. Under FERC, Tri-State has consistent rate regulation and resolution, in one forum, of related wholesale power and transmissions matters, including participation in expanding organized wholesale energy markets and issues arising under other federal energy laws.
The FERC regulates the wholesale rates of Xcel Energy/Public Service Company of Colorado, Public Service of New Mexico, PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power, Black Hills Energy, Southwestern Public Service and El Paso Energy. Across the nation, other generation and transmission cooperatives that are subject to active regulation in multiple states also are FERC regulated.
Rate regulation by FERC does not affect Tri-State’s compliance with state resource planning, carbon reduction or renewable energy regulations
Regulation by FERC will not affect resource planning, carbon reduction or renewable energy regulation in the states in which Tri-State and its members operate.
“Tri-State has and will continue to comply with state environmental, renewable energy and resource planning requirements, and will continue to do so under FERC rate regulation,” Highley said. “The issue of FERC rate regulation is unrelated to those areas regulated by the states. We are committed, and required, to work with all New Mexico and Colorado state regulatory agencies, including the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on resource planning and the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on carbon reduction planning.”
About MIECO Inc.
MIECO was founded in 1984 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Marubeni. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, the company has operations in a number of energy markets. These include petroleum products and natural gas. MIECO provides natural gas services to Tri-State as an unregulated energy services company. For more information, visit http://www.mieco.com
About Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
Tri-State mission is to provide reliable, affordable and responsible power in accordance with cooperative principles. Tri-State’s membership includes 43 distribution cooperatives and public power districts that collectively serve 1.3 million people across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West, including the states of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. For more information, visit http://www.tristate.coop