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Directors scrap rates but one coop manager says this issue will have to be addressed within a year or two


Directors of Holy Cross Energy this week voted to rescind the electric rate changes they had adopted earlier this year.

The board had adopted the rates, to take effect this fall, but then agreed to suspend them when the solar industry and others objected strenuously. This shelves those rates permanently.

In response to those objections, the Colorado Energy Office in May convened meetings. Those meetings continue.

Still unresolved are fundamental disagreements. Holy Cross — and many other utilities — see the current rate structure as unfairly rewarding owners of rooftop solar at the expense of other ratepayers, including those of lower incomes. For a full explanation, see this Big Pivots story from June 29.

The lingering disagreement was reflected in the quote from Bryan Hannegan, the chief executive at Holy Cross. The cooperative, he said, “remains committed to a responsible transition to a clean energy future that is equitable and inclusive for all our members.”

The solar industry has acknowledged that rates must change but argued that they were dramatically premature in the case of Holy Cross.

Other cooperative managers – including those deeply engaged in the energy transition – have said that incentives for rooftop solar must correspond with the benefits.

Mark Gabriel, at United Power, who has been involved in the state-convened discussion, said adjustments in rates will be necessary, but those discussions will be better conducted in the next year or two.

Allen Best
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