Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush: Clearing up Senate Bill 252



Diane Mitsch Bush

There is misinformation about the amended, final Senate Bill 252.

Let me share what I know from my research and outreach, which led me to demand changes to the bill. I told the speaker that I would not vote for the bill unless changes were made. I convinced him on two amendments that I negotiated and ran on the floor. One got bipartisan support.

As soon as I read the bill, I began my due diligence by getting information from all stakeholders. Then I met with the speaker and outlined the two amendments I wanted to see before I would vote “yes”: lowering the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association requirement from 25 to 20 percent and lessening the distributed generation requirement for the very small rural co-ops. I wanted to lessen cost impacts for rural families affected. I heard them clearly in the six-hour House Transportation and Energy Committee hearing on the bill. I co-sponsored the 20 percent amendment, and then I introduced the distributed generation amendment. Both were compromises arrived at via negotiation. Both passed. They improved the bill.

On May 4, based on those amendments, The Denver Post changed its editorial position from opposed to supportive, urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign the bill.

It is important to note that the 20 percent wholesale requirement does not affect consumers in Eagle or Routt counties for two reasons:

First, the Holy Cross and Yampa Valley Electric Association co-ops do not buy power from Tri-State, so customers will not be affected by the Tri-State requirement. YVEA and Holy Cross contract for power with Xcel, which means both meet SB252 requirements for wholesale power because Xcel is meeting its larger 30 percent renewable requirement.

Second, the 20 percent by 2020 requirement does not apply to any co-op with fewer than 100,000 meters. All of those co-ops remain under the existing 10 percent requirement regardless of where they buy their power.

That said, for the Tri-State co-ops, customers could be affected by Tri-State passing its costs of meeting the 20 percent requirement on to member co-ops. There are widely varying estimates of those costs. That is why there is a 2 percent monthly rate cap in the bill.

If a Tri-State co-op has to raise prices to meet any portion of the standard and those price increases to customers reach 2 percent, the co-op can desist from further expenditures. Using the average annualized Colorado household electric bill of $60 per month, this would be no more than $1.20. Yet the misinformation still abounds, saying the bill would cost Tri-State families “hundreds of dollars” every month. The only way a $120 monthly increase could happen is if the Tri-State family’s bill now was $6,000 per month.

The 1 percent distributed generation requirement affects all rural co-ops, including YVEA and Holy Cross. It will create jobs in many rural areas of our state, especially in construction. The pyrolysis of landfill materials and coal mine methane capture also could lead to new jobs. Biomass plants like the one in Gypsum will lead to more demand for beetle-killed timber. There are two components of the 1 percent requirement:

First, co-ops need to provide as much as one-half percent of their power from local, community-based projects. YVEA has been working on a solar garden project that partially will fulfill this requirement. According to Holy Cross Director Del Worley and board President Mike Glass, Holy Cross has several renewable distributed generation projects that can meet this requirement.

Second, co-ops must get up to one-half percent from home- or business-owned renewable installations. A number of YVEA and Holy Cross customers now net meter from their home or business photovoltaic/wind/hydro. This number will increase.

Both types of distributed generation will increase local renewable installation and new/retrofit construction jobs and help existing businesses and jobs in Routt and Eagle counties. Both could spur investments in local biomass plants that use beetle-killed timber.

If you have questions about SB252, or any other issue, please contact me at

I will have a series of town halls and coffees this summer. I look forward to listening to you.

Diane Mitsch Bush represents House District 26, which includes Routt and Eagle counties.


Scott Wedel 3 years ago

"That is why there is a 2 percent monthly rate cap in the bill."

The bill actually as a 2 percent ANNUAL rate cap.


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

This is just a smoke screen for finding an excuse to spend big bucks on windmiills order to further the debacle. The big bucks are in the infrastructure to provide these questionable renewables. We are down $17,000,000,000 now and what is a few more going to matter? Mandates like this give the impression that we now are obligataed to provide sources of feel good energy. When the sun does'nt shine and the winds not blowing our conventional plants will carry the whole load and run continously in order to assure an uninterupted source. In order to meet the mandates they will purchase unneeded power when the wind blows. In most cases this will mean we are producing and paying for feel good duplicate power. Dianne is micromanaging over pennies but that is not where the game is being played..


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

This is the same group that gave us ethanol and Obamacare so you know it has been thoroughly thought through.


Scott Wedel 3 years ago

"Further the debacle" that our electricity supplier Xcel is meeting and our rates have hardly gone haywire.

It would have been better if, like Xcel, the increase in renewable energy was worked out with the electricity provider, but Colorado increasing renewable energy has not been a "debacle".


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

The utility companies are guaranteed a profit so they would be willing to burn $100 bills if that is what they are forced to do. Just because they comply does not mean that they buy the BS. Dianne is pretending to be watching every penny but the real problem is that these quotas will be an excuse to "invest" in more windmills etc. Long before this PC craze came about I visualized windmills and was excited when they put in a farm near Medicine Bow Wyo. I was very discouraged when problems arose that are the same one's that we have today. How many billions have we squandered since then without addressing the original problems? This will be mush like the Ethanol fiasco where well meaners subsidized billions and now we can't turn back because we have created an industry.


Harvey Lyon 3 years ago


Xcel is huge, virtually coast to coast. They have a much greater opportunity to distribute costs among customers than Tri State. Even then, they're meeting, or they say they're progressing towards the 20% by 2025 law passed in 2007..... Just as Tri State was.Currently its about 10%.

Xcels size allows them much more flexibility both geographically and transmission line availability as well as a much larger mix of base power generation. All pragmatic engineering points that many don't wish to discuss or even consider, including Diane Mitsch Bush.

Boulder says Xcel isn't happening fast enough so they wish to leave Xcel and form a muni run electrical which differs little from Co Ops. They will vote on it this November I believe however the cost versus benefit issues are only now hitting the streets of Boulder.Basically the engineering says Boulder will pay the same, or more and be able to harvest less renewable energy in the next decade.


If you like the E10 law you'll love the E35 law being kicked around. We all know that ethanol contains 1/3 less available energy than basic gasoline. The solution to this is to make engines more complex and efficient by raising the compression which requires higher octane. The proposed solution is to require all cars to go to E35 93 Octane standard which makes all the corn and beet growers quite happy. It you've ever had to maintain a high compression vehicle you'll understand the potential headaches and its one reason we gave up on high compression in the 70's.

And oh yes, the rise in the cost of gasoline, combined with the increased gas mileage has resulted in reduced fuel taxes going to Denver and other State Capitols as well as Uncle Sam. We all know how Governmentfeels about less money going thru their fingers before being doled out as political largess.

At lease 10 state legislatures have increased their state gas taxes this year. Colorado did not as, well, maybe they figure there will be enough tax raise proposals for us come November. What they did do was allow a portion of the "road and bridge" funds issued to the various Counties to be used for alternative forms of transportation such as bike paths, buses, etc.

While I generally agree with giving control to the lowest level possible the gas tax was for the maintenance of roads and bridges. It is already insufficient and rife with contract corruption. No doubt next year, November 2014, we'll see a proposed gas tax increase being sold as "green".

The past remains prologue!


Scott Wedel 3 years ago

Xcel, as a regulated utility, charges local consumers based upon local costs. They cannot charge Kansas more because Colorado's renewable program costs them money. So, the current renewable program is not being subsidized by Xcel's customers in other states to not be a debacle in Colorado.

It is simply a fact that the renewable energy program for Xcel customers has not been a "debacle".

It could be a debacle for Tri-State. I don't know why Xcel was able to negotiate with the state to come up with a plan that's Xcel's engineers could estimate costs and Tri-State was not. I note that neither the state legislature or Tri-State says there should have been negotiations. Looks like Tri-State has resisted using renewables and the state legislature decided that if Xcel can do then Tri-State should be able to do it.

It might be a debacle for Tri-State, but their PR dept hurt the company's interest by never saying why Xcel was able to meet the goal or to suggest a plan that would work for Tri-State.


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

Let's put things into perspective here, renewables only produce a little over one percent of our energy needs.Having a massive change might result in that figure to improve a percent or two but hardly anything to make a dent in the world situation that the faithful choose tp neglect.


Harvey Lyon 3 years ago


You are incorrect. Please read the Xcel Annual Report.

Tri State was covered under the 2007 law as was Xcel. 20% by 2025.

Now its 20% by 2020 for Tri-State and 20% by 2025 for xcel.

And Tri State is already obtaining more of their energy from renewables than Xcel...if one believe hydroelectric to be "renewable".......which I do.

Tri State is a non profit owned by the likes of you and I, save a different County. YVEA has bought contracts with Tri State in the past. Craig is a current member of Tri State.

Xcel has NOT met tthe goal....not even close yet. They just happen to have 4000 customers per mile of power line while Tri State has 4 on average. They just happen to serve Denver and Boulder why Tri State serves Craig and Gunnison. The Democrats could pass this without fear of losing votes...pure and simple. And they can claim they "did something" to quote Diane Mitsch Bush.


Harvey Lyon 3 years ago

And Scott,

Before you get all involved with the 30% renewable level......that was with "multiples" which ranged from 1.25% to 1.5%. These were canx with SB 252 as they were found to be unconstitutional...interstate commerce and all of that.

On the Annual Report conference call the CEO said they were "well along the way of meeting the 20% Colorado requirement which is similiar to other States."

I own Xcel in my retirement portfolio. Good solid stodgy company :) 20% equals 30% with the 1.5 multiplier. Now that 252 has passed the "requirement" is sure to go back to 20%, probably arranged low key by the PUC due to "extraordinary circumstance". A true 30% would never have worked engineering wise. Given the variable nature of wind, the off again on again, the lack of power storage, the nature of its power and power factor, inductance versus reactive power, the ability to transmit the power to users......a true 30% was never on the board but it did give the Democratic Party something they could use to gather votes.


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

Dems are out of their league on all this stuff but as long as they win the "mean well, caring and free stuff" vote they have a good shot at power, however unfortunate that might be.


rhys jones 3 years ago

I've got to agree that this bill is folly. Nuclear and fossil fuels will supply the vast bulk of our electrical needs for the foreseeasble future, and I wish renewables the best of luck in changing that -- but they must do so on their own merits, not some arbitrary standard seemingly grasped out of thin air. The consumers are hardly in a position to fund the infrastructure of any mandated alternatives, one reason the bill will ultimately fail a court challenge, more money out the window. DMBush is all too willing to jump on the latest bandwagon with both feet, thoroughly enjoying her moment in the sun and playing it for all it's worth -- even this liberal finds that scary.

Speakin of left and right -- believers in such simple classifications fall right into the web of the real spider, always picking the wrong shell -- where IS that pea? Much can be learned from The Sneetches, and Sylvester McMonkey McBean. Dr. Seuss nailed it. I don't believe even he intended the irony that resulted.

Jerry -- Still watching NBA? I'm as thoroughly disgusted with the officiating as ever. The refs stole one from Memphis the other night; they knocked the Nuggets out -- that's three or four games, just in the last few days, decided by black-and-white shirts -- often the same one -- on unreviewable plays, which, upon replay, you say What did he THINK he saw? Or THAT WASN'T A FOUL?? Ty is bleeding!! Announcers last night were talking about an independent review ref -- ANYTHING -- that is the sport's Achilles heel, tainting the integrity. Those guys are like the Federal Reserve -- beyond reproach. Possibly dirty. One difference: This problem we can fix.

Thank you for enduring this digression, you can have your forum back.


Steve Lewis 3 years ago


I like your NBA posts. Not even my sport, but a good reminder we are shucking peanuts here.

I would stand a chance at the shell game if we weighed the environmental impacts. Fossil fuels have the subsidy of harm un-costed. Put Iraq in the CPA's hands and those gallons cost a lot more.


Fred Duckels 3 years ago

Steve, Over the course of history we have had leaders using the ploy that they have the inside track with God in order to control people. Eighty two virgins is a good example. Today we have the same situation with the elites, growing weary from the spotted owl standbys have seized upon the holy grail of global warming er whatever the latest catchword is. We are told that just like God we are not to question as the science is settled. As a political tool this is absolutely briliant and with the media and academia in tow and sharing in the booty it has bulletproof credentials.It can be used for everything from soup to nuts in order to satisfy an ideology with little regard for unintended consequences possibly by design. It is impotant that we know the truth but this circus certainly detracts from the mission.


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