SMPA to Leave Statewide Association - The San Miguel Power Association, Inc (SMPA) Board of Directors voted to withdraw from the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) at their regular meeting February 18, 2010. SMPA's decision to leave the statewide association is due in part to rising membership dues and philosophical differences.
As a progressive rural electric cooperative, SMPA has been responding to the values of its member-owners. These values include greater use of energy efficiency and conservation measures, cost reductions, development of a smart grid, and greater use of non-traditional energy sources.
SMPA expresses sincere appreciation for the past work CREA has accomplished on behalf of all Colorado electric cooperatives. However, in order to assure that the values of SMPA's members are reflected in our legislative lobbying efforts, SMPA finds it necessary to end participation in CREA's legislative division.
No Rate Increase for SMPA Members in 2010 - San Miguel Power Association, Inc. (SMPA) members will not see any planned increase in their electricity rates in 2010. At yesterday's (Feb. 18, 2010) regular meeting the SMPA Board of Directorâ€™s ratified the 2010 budget which projects to hold rates steady for the next 12 months.
"We have an obligation to our members to provide affordable power," said SMPA General Manager, Kevin Ritter. "And if we can continue to maintain our system, and provide quality service and reliable power, while holding our rates steady, we will."
As a member owned rural electric cooperative San Miguel Power functions on a business model that puts members first and profits last. However, the co-op is a not-for-profit organization that must legally maintain a certain profit level, or margin. Any margins that are earned are allocated to the members at the end of each year in the form of capital credits.
"Our rates strictly reflect what it costs SMPA to provide electrical service to our members," explains Ritter. "Holding them steady means we're keeping close tabs on our budget to ensure wise spending on our part and hopefully, some relief on our members."
The rate freeze is due in part to the fact that the co-op's power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission did not increase their wholesale costs for 2010. Wholesale power costs amount to over 60% of SMPA's operating expenses. The stable wholesale prices from Tri-State, coupled with a prudent budget, allowed SMPA to maintain 2009 prices.
SMPA members last saw a rate increase in April of 2009, which set the current residential rate at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. That will hold steady through 2010, but the co-op warns that rate increases can't be avoided in the future.
"Greater demand, federal legislation and alternative resources will all play a role in our rates," said Ritter "We know for certain that the future will bring higher rates, and thatâ€™s why we encourage all our members to start saving energy and money through energy efficiency efforts right now."Â
For more information on how to improve your energy efficiency visit the co-op's website www.smpa.com or contact Member Services at (970) 626-5549.
Free Weatherization Services for Low Income Families - Qualifying members of San Miguel Power Association, Inc. (SMPA) are eligible for free weatherization services from the Governor's Energy Office (GEO). In partnership with local agencies, the GEO is providing free weatherization improvements for low income Colorado residents which include:
SMPA members who are qualified homeowners or renters can apply for these free services by contacting the local weatherization agency in their county. Residents of Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel and Hinsdale counties should contact the Mexican American Development Association (MADA) in Montrose at (970) 249-4774. Residents of San Juan and Dolores counties should contact 4 Core in Durango at (970) 259-1913. Residents of Mesa County should contact Housing Resources of Western Colorado in Grand Junction at (970) 241-2871.
Qualifying members will be required to complete and application and schedule a free home energy audit.
"While SMPA may not be able to provide direct financial assistance, we want to make sure our members have access to any available funds that are out there. We encourage any of our members who are eligible for the weatherization program to take advantage of it," said SMPA General Manager, Kevin Ritter. "Any assistance a member gets will help them have a more comfortable home and more affordable energy bills."
The GEO has set the following guidelines to help residents determine their eligibility. If a resident currently receives financial assistance from any of the following programs they automatically quality for weatherization services:
Eligibility can also be determined by household incomes. Click here for a detailed chart.
San Miguel Power Launches Newly Designed Website - San Miguel Power Association, Inc. (SMPA) launched a new and improved website, www.smpa.com, Tuesday, January 26, 2010. The site still includes the features - such as online bill pay, rebate applications and efficiency information - which members have come to depend on. According to SMPA General Manager Kevin Ritter, those features are now just easier to find. For instance, members can now access the online bill pay option simply by clicking on the visible icon on the homepage.
"Our website has always been a useful online energy resource. It just needed a bit of fine-tuning" explained Ritter. "We've reorganized the site so our members can find the items they want and need easier."
Coupled with the introduction of SMPA's new website is the co-op's recently created electronic member newsletter. Currently, members who have signed up for paperless billing receive the electronic version of the co-opâ€™s newsletter called EnergyWise.Â
"We've really enhanced our online presence for our members' convenience. We encourage any member who utilizes the convenient 24/7 online bill pay to take the next step and go completely paperless," said Ritter. "With our updated website and electronic newsletter, paperless members wonâ€™t miss a thing."
All members, even those who choose to receive a paper bill, are encouraged to visit www.smpa.com. The site boasts plenty of useful information including, effective and low cost energy savings tips, co-op news and renewable energy facts. Some new additions include a revamped main menu, community calendar and information about the co-op's practices and history.
OUTAGE ALERT: Scheduled Power Outage for Parts of Ouray on Thursday, February 4, 2010 - San Miguel Power Association, Inc. will be completing a voltage conversion Thursday, February 4, 2010 on the electrical system serving part of the Town of Ouray. Residences and businesses located along the following streets will be affected:
In order to perform this service, power will be turned off for approximately one hour, from 8:00 - 9:00 am. Â In the event that power in the affected area is not restored before 10:00 am, members are asked to call SMPA at (970) 626-5549. San Miguel Power strives to minimize any inconvenience to members when performing maintenance duties. For more information regarding this scheduled outage, contact Glen Livengood, SMPA Operations Manager, (970) 626-0223 or (970) 209-5593.