June 2023 Board Meeting Summary

SDCEA Board Meeting Summary, June 28, 2023

Jeff Fiedler and Mark Boyle, director-elects, attended their first meeting as board members of SDCEA. Fiedler will serve a three-year term as an at-large representative, while Boyle will represent rural Lake and Chaffee counties. Blake Bennetts was re-elected as the representative of the town of Buena Vista. Initially appointed in 2022 to fill a vacancy, Bennetts retained his seat on the board of directors.  

A sizable portion of the nearly six-hour meeting was dedicated to onboarding and orientation for new board members. They and their colleagues enrolled in classes and meetings to familiarize and further educate themselves with cooperative business operations. Additionally, board members planned to attend industry meetings and conferences. 

New Board Leadership – New officers were elected to lead the cooperative during the 2023-2024 term. Officers are elected annually after board elections. The newly elected board leadership includes Sandra Attebery as Chair, Charles A. Abel II as Vice Chair, Blake Bennetts as Secretary, and Dan C. Daly as Treasurer.  

Aristata Communications (formerly Colorado Central Telecom) – Carlin Walsh, CEO of Aristata Communications, appeared before the board to provide a general update about the company and discuss capital project funding opportunities, as well as the potential to partner on future projects. Aristata recently completed a fiber project in the Chalk Creek area using SDCEA electric poles. 

Livestock SalesSDCEA committed to sending buyers to represent the company to the Chaffee, Fremont, and Custer county’s 4H Fairs. 

CEO Report  

Grants: SDCEA staff are currently exploring various grant opportunities offered by the Federal government, including those through the Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). These grants are specifically aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Staff are collaborating with Tri-State to explore potential partnerships and secure grant funding. 

Administrative Report 

Renewable Energy Standard Compliance – Required by the newly signed franchise agreement, SDCEA provided to the town of Buena Vista, a complimentary copy of the c2022 Colorado Renewable Energy Standard Annual Compliance Report filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. 

Employment BillsThe board was updated on 2023 Colorado Legislative Employment bills concerning unemployment insurance premiums, the Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights Act, and equal pay for equal work, among many others. 

TechnologyA High Level Design has been completed by NRTC to implement and improve system communications and SCADA controls on SDCEA’s distribution system. 


Financial Report 

Year-to-date (April 2023): Revenues are 4.4% over budget due to selling more power than forecasted in the budget driven by colder than anticipated weather in the first quarter. The 2023 budget is based on SDCEA’s year over year average of kwh sales, with a slight increase for growth in number of consumers and sales. Because January-April 2023 was colder than January-April of 2022, more kilowatt hour sales (4.8% higher) have occurred than budgeted. The cooperative in turn purchased additional power to cover this increase in sales. This increased expense was primarily offset by a decrease in operating expenses due to several employment positions being open and lower than budgeted interest expense on long-term debt. Overall, total expenses are within 1 % of the budget.  

Operations Report 

Wildfire Mitigation Update:   

Cutting crews are working in Lake County and the Beaver Lakes subdivision. A crew will be working in Fremont County along Texas Creek. 

Project Totals since inception:
Total Trees Removed – 8620
Total Trees Trimmed – 2730
Hazard Trees Removed – 130  

Systemwide Solar Saturation Study: Toth Engineering will submit a proposal for a systemwide solar saturation study. This study aims to assess the impact of consumer-owned distributed generation on SDCEA’s energy distribution system. 

Tommy Young line rebuild: Phase I of the Tommy Young line rebuild continues in Fremont and Custer Counties.
• Length – 7.9 miles
• Contractor – Altitude Energy
• Contract Price – $694,347 (labor only)
• Duration – 32 weeks (about 7 and a half months)
The first five miles of this project are complete. The remaining 2.9 miles of line reconstruction will begin July 3. Phase II will begin in the fall. Steel poles will be used in certain applications.  

Procurement: Lead times on pad mounted transformers and wood poles are improving.   

Executive Session: The board adjourned into executive session to discuss items to be held in confidence at 4:10 p.m. The meeting was reconvened at 4:45 p.m. and was adjourned. No action was taken in the executive session.