Tim McCarthy and Paul Potyen: Vote in election


This week, a ballot for Yampa Valley Electric Association’s board-member election will be arriving in your mailbox. This is your chance to make a difference in our community, and your vote is more important than ever. Last year, only 12.5 percent of YVEA’s meter holders cast their votes, so only a few more on either side could decide this year’s election.

YVEA’s energy policies have worked well in the past, but they desperately need updating to keep pace with the times and with our community’s evolving priorities. This year, progressive board candidates are running who could help us catch up to other member-owned electric cooperatives in Colorado and help lead our community toward a more economically resilient and environmentally sustainable future.

Currently YVEA’s mission is narrowly defined to provide energy to its customers at the lowest price possible, and it purchases almost 100 percent of this power from Xcel Energy. While our electricity is fairly cheap right now, by relying exclusively on Xcel for our power, our community is exposed to future price volatility for oil, gas and coal, due to the increasing cost of extracting these dwindling resources. Indeed, YVEA is already negotiating an increase in energy prices with Xcel, which is a preview of what we can expect in the future. It’s time for a change.

In Routt County alone, our community spent more than $35 million on electricity last year. Instead of sending much of that money to a corporation from Minnesota, we should invest in local generation projects that would provide much needed economic stimulus and insulation from future price fluctuations in fossil-fuel electricity generation. Other Colorado utilities are already getting more than 20 percent of their power from such local projects, and their electricity rates are lower than ours. It’s time to catch up.

We need to think about how we can assert a new direction for our utility that will take into consideration where we get our electricity in the future. The world is changing fast, and we have the opportunity to make choices today that will lead to a more economically prosperous and environmentally friendly future. The next 20 years will probably be quite different from the last 20 years, and we would be wise to be prepared — for our children’s sake as well as our own.When you get your ballot, read the information about the candidates. Then cast your vote. It takes only a minute. Don’t postpone it. Exercise your right to make their board your board. Let’s energize now!

And please be aware that in order for your vote to be valid, your ballot must be signed by the person whose name appears on your YVEA bill.

Tim McCarthy and Paul Potyen

Steamboat Springs


sledneck 5 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the reminder Tim and Paul. I am out of town but will be sure and contact YVEA about how to get an absentee ballot. It seems imperative that I vote so as to cancell out your vote, otherwise MY priorities of LOW ELECTRIC BILLS will become a thing of the past.

Stop trying to run everyones life. Why aren't you intellectually honest enough to come right out and say it, fellas?... If your progressive candidates ran YVEA electricity rates in Routt County would increase dramatically, no? Tell everyone the truth!

There are lots of families in Routt County who simply can not afford higher electricity. If you can afford this luxury go out and buy your own windmill or solar panels. Let the rest of us have cheap electricity by letting the free market supply the best product at the cheapest rate!


George Danellis 5 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the reminder to vote in the YVEA board election which is often overlooked.

We are blessed to have reliable and inexpensive electrical energy service to our homes in the YVEA service area. They do an incredible job of meeting our electricity needs in this regard. And the board has been steadfast in satisfying YVEA's mission to provide reliable and low-cost electricity to its members. While also offering "green" energy and net-metering as options for members who wish to take advantage.

However, as there is not currently true cost accounting for the energy produced by YVEA what we see are policies that are based on an inaccurate cost assessment. This makes it very difficult for YVEA's board and management to make decisions that are in the very best interest of the co-op. For instance, if the costs to the health of our children and others from mercury and other pollutants from burning coal were accounted for, how much would a kilowatt hour cost then? Would other energy options that had significantly lesser harmful impacts and that simultaneously input more dollars into the local economy seem like a relatively better option? This is the kind of question I would like my board members to be asking.


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