LPEA board votes to leave Tri-State Generation and Transmission


With a 9-3 vote, the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors voted Monday, March 25, to formally withdraw from the membership of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and filed its Notice of Intent to Withdraw at the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C., effective April 1, 2026. 

This departure will aid LPEA’s efforts toward the advancement of affordable, clean energy initiatives, increasing resiliency and expanding local generation. 

LPEA joins former Tri-State members Delta Montrose Electric Association and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, who have already exited Tri-State, and Mountain Parks Electric, Northwest Rural Public Power District and United Power, who will fully depart soon.

“This decision was not made lightly and is in alignment with the cooperative principles we were founded on almost 85 years ago,” said Ted Compton, LPEA board president. “We want the autonomy to manage our future as we are more familiar with unique opportunities and challenges in our backyard than someone on the Front Range.”

Over the past five years, LPEA has brought multiple solutions for its energy future to Tri-State, but Tri-State has not developed any solution approved by its regulator, FERC. 

Without the ability to rework LPEA’s current contract with Tri-State, which runs through the year 2050, LPEA has been unable to have more direct control over its own rates or to seek new clean energy opportunities and to bring those benefits to the local community.

“We want to take back control for our community to decide LPEA’s future,” Compton continued. “Staying with Tri-State creates future risk for our members based on experience. Tri-State proposed rate increases, created future energy rate uncertainty through a new rate structure, was downgraded by its financial rating agencies, struggled to make margins and has had difficulty adapting to FERC regulation. LPEA should take responsibility for its own rates, resiliency and reliability to create better certainty for LPEA members.”

Leaving the 50-year contract with Tri-State will allow LPEA to move beyond the current 5 percent limit of local energy development projects. 

By leaving Tri-State, LPEA will be able to build and/or contract for its own renewable energy, encourage more roof-top solar production, incorporate battery storage and partner with members to build other generation sources. 

New and local energy development projects will increase LPEA’s energy reliability and opportunities for LPEA’s service region. 

A good example of this potential is the Sunnyside Community Solar Garden in partnership with Fort Lewis College and La Plata County. LPEA leaving the Tri-State contract will create more opportunities to partner with local organizations, creating jobs, developing clean energy, improving LPEA’s ability to keep the lights on, and keeping more of our community’s dollars in our local and regional economy.

Monday’s filing of the Notice of Intent to Withdraw starts a two-year time clock. During this time, LPEA will work to secure power contracts, accurately establish costs and identify the many details needed to exit the 50-year contract.