YVEA sees sales drop in '03

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For the first time in a decade, the Yampa Valley Electric Association sold less electricity in 2003 than the year before, despite having more customers.

General Manager Lawrence Covillo announced the news at the organization's annual meeting in Hayden on Saturday. He attributed the 2 percent decrease in sales mostly to the area's mild winter.

About 60 YVEA customers turned out to hear staff reports and vote for a District 7 board member representing Steamboat Springs.

Incumbent Pat McClelland beat out Paul Sachs and Shayne Mitchell for the seat. Almost 2,000 ballots were cast at the meeting and through the mail. McClelland secured 58 percent of the vote. Sachs, who also ran for the seat three years ago, followed with 27 percent of the vote.

"Thank you, Paul and Shayne," McClelland said. "It's good to have competition. ... It makes us get out and spend more time with people."

Sam Haslem ran unopposed for the District 5 seat representing Hayden.

Also at the meeting, board Chairman Tom Trevenen announced his retirement. He has represented District 4, Elk Springs, for almost 24 years.

"I would like to say thank you for your support all these years," Trevenen told the crowd.

The board will appoint someone to his seat in the next several months, because there were no petitions for the seat.

Good news in YVEA's 2003 report included a $1 million rate decrease resulting from several complaints the association filed with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against Xcel Energy, its main power supplier.

The association opposed Xcel's regulation of fuel adjustment classes, as well as the company's proposed $1 million rate increase in 2003, Covillo said.

Xcel's settlement will apply to power it sells to the association this year though the spring of 2006.

Covillo also reported that the YVEA is joining Holy Cross Energy to form a generational cooperative in exploring power solutions for the future. The companies want to obtain more energy from coal-fired power plants. Although the plants cost more to build, the price of coal is more stable than gas, which produces a "good portion" of Xcel's power.

YVEA is happy with its contract with Xcel, which lasts until 2020, but the increasing cost of gas warrants a look at nongas power sources, he said.

"Gas does have a place in the power-supply mixture ... but we're thinking it's too much for the long-term projection," Covillo said.

Holy Cross Energy and YVEA are looking at the Comanche Station Power Plant in Pueblo as a possible power source.

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