Yampa Valley Electric Association says new 15-year agreement will stabilize members’ rates

Officials at Yampa Valley Electric Association are expecting to save tens of millions of dollars after coming to a 15-year agreement with Guzman Energy to provide wholesale power to the cooperative.

YVEA has been looking to break from its current provider, Xcel Energy. According to officials at YVEA, the agreement announced Thursday will extend over 15 years, and the transition away from Xcel Energy will take approximately five years.

“Our decision to transition to Guzman Energy to provide wholesale power was guided by the ‘Four Rs’ – rates, reliability, renewables and relationships,” YVEA CEO Steve Johnson said in a statement. “We have listened to our members, and this agreement powers us forward to deliver reliable and affordable electricity that incorporates more renewable sources and helps us stabilize rates.”

According to YVEA, the co-op has faced consistent increases in wholesale costs over the past few years, including a 14% rate hike in 2023. Officials at the co-op say the new agreement should stabilize its members’ energy costs with predictable, fixed wholesale power rates. In contrast, YVEA’s current contracted rate structure fluctuates with market conditions, leaving YVEA members vulnerable to spikes in pricing.

YVEA added that Guzman Energy will either own the generation assets used to provide power for YVEA or secure power purchase agreements for energy directly from generation assets.

Currently, 42% of YVEA’s power comes from renewable sources, including an agreement with Xcel Energy that allows the cooperative to generate 3% of its power with local renewable energy.

In its new partnership with Guzman Energy, YVEA is on track to become 84% carbon-free by 2030, including the opportunity to meet an additional 15% of its load with power from YVEA’s contracted local renewable energy projects.

YVEA says Guzman Energy has a proven track record of working with cooperatives to reach renewable energy goals.

Guzman Energy has partnered with numerous other cooperatives across North America to reduce wholesale power supply costs and keep rates stable for their members. Additionally, YVEA officials say Guzman Energy values communities and has been a good community partner that invests in the areas it serves.

“It’s important for local communities to have decision-making control over their electricity portfolio and to have certainty around the cost,” said Robin Lunt, chief commercial officer of Guzman Energy. “Guzman Energy is proud to be part of YVEA’s solution for its membership and we look forward to our partnership.”

YVEA serves nearly 27,000 customers in Northwest Colorado and southern Wyoming.

“All YVEA members depend on affordable power, and we have a responsibility to our members to deliver the most value,” Johnson added. “Whether you are a retired member on a fixed income, a young family with new expenses, an agriculture business with high demand or a large business with hundreds of employees, our new partnership with Guzman will help us keep your rates more stable in the future.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.