2017 CREA Year in Review

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Year in Review

CREA Membership

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Colorado Distribution Co-ops

CREA Board Visited 5 Entities in 2017

2017 Year In Review

Gas-to-Energy Plant at a Landfill

Energy Efficient Diary Farm

Pot & Power Conferences


Board Meetings in 2017

Combined Cycle Generating Power Plant

CO2 Extraction Plant

10 Electric Co-op Headquarters

1 Member Co-op

Featured in Safe Electricity National Campaign

Executive Director Kent Singer Attended in 2017

One Conference Was Hosted by CREA. They Were In:




Associate Members

Generation & Transmission Co-op


CREA Employees



2 Student Projects Honored by CREA at the State Science Fair

The Colorado Rural Electric Association Service is at the core of everything the Colorado Rural Electric Association does for its member cooperatives. In 2017, 13 employees provided organizational management, meeting and training opportunities for co-op directors and employees, co-op representation on state and federal legislative activities, safety and loss control leadership and training for management and employees and digital and print communications support. Those employees provided that service all 12 months of 2017, despite a May hailstorm that obliterated the roof of the headquarters at 5400 Washington Street in Denver. Outside, the building roof was destroyed, signage was damaged, five vehicles in the parking lot were totaled and two had thousands of dollars in damage. Inside, soggy ceiling tiles collapsed as the rain that came with the hail poured down, walls were soaked and the carpet was ruined. But, staff acted quickly, covering equipment and files immediately. By the next morning, offices had been rearranged with the Communications Department sharing space with the Safety and Loss Control Department and the CREA employees were back to serving the members. Throughout the summer, CREA employees worked around construction and repairs of the hail damage and then the already-planned remodeling of the building’s kitchen area. As 2017 closed, the building is snug with a new roof and a much-more efficient kitchen area after a memorable summer.

Kent Singer

Kylee Coleman

Cassi Gloe

Geoff Hier

Angelea Meyer

Liz Fiddes

Curt Graham

Executive Director

Editorial/Administrative Assistant

Designer/Production Manager

Director of Government Relations

Risk Management Coordinator

Director of Member Services and Education

Job Training and Safety Instructor

Jen Hight

Dale Kishbaugh

Mona Neeley

Gloria Smeaton

Dan Whitesides

Heather Williams

Events and Administrative Coordinator

Director of Safety and Loss Control

Director of Communications/Publisher

Director of HR/Controller

Job Training and Safety Instructor

Government Relations Specialist

2017 Year In Review




CREA Board Meetings Held


4 General Manager Meetings Were Held Directors and Managers Attended a CREA Orientation


27 Speakers Made Presentations

Speakers Made Presentations

During the CREA Annual Meeting and Co-op Day at the Capitol


2017 Year In Review


CREA Committee Meetings Held

Guest Speakers Spoke at a CREA Board Meeting

1 Retirement Party for a General Manager was Organized

41 393 27

2 Dinners for the General Managers Were Organized

Speakers Made Presentations During the Energy Innovations Summit & Fall Meeting Attendees, Speakers, and Exhibitors Participated in the Energy Innovations Summit & Fall Meeting Exhibitors Contributed $21,000 in Sponsorship Fees

New Directors Join Experienced Directors in Guiding the Colorado Rural Electric Association All 22 of Colorado’s distribution cooperatives and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association are represented on the CREA Board of Directors. The three officers of the CREA Managers Association are also board members, making a 26-member board. Seven directors were new to the CREA board in 2017, and three directors were new in 2016, That means one-third of the current CREA Board of Directors is new to the statewide board in the past two years. In 2017, there were 10 board meetings and 19 committee meetings. Bringing additional information to the board, 15 guest speakers participated in a CREA board meeting. The board traveled to Empire Electric Association in Cortez for its spring meeting. There board members toured Kinder Morgan’s CO2 recovery and distribution operations. Kinder Morgan is EEA’s largest load. The group also toured EEA’s new warehouse and operations center. Board members took a second field trip in United Power’s service area northeast of Denver and visited a landfill gas-to-energy project that is capturing methane and converting it to energy; Cottonwood Dairy, which received grants from the Colorado Energy Office and United Power to implement efficiency measures on the dairy; and the JM Shafer Station, a combined cycle power plant, which provides Tri-State G&T with electricity using natural gas. In October, CREA board members joined others at the annual Energy Innovations Summit & Fall Meeting. Participation was the largest yet, with 393 attendees, speakers, and exhibitors registering for the conference. The 27 exhibitors who participated in the conference contributed $21,000 in sponsorship fees to offset the costs of the meeting.

NRECA Resolutions Process CREA wrote a guide to the NRECA resolutions process. The board voted not to continue developing CREA’s resolutions, but instead to get more involved in NRECA’s process. Having this guide has made it easier for co-ops that want to introduce a resolution to understand the process.

CREA Meeting Goes Green During CREA’s fall meeting participants staying at the Westin Downtown Denver Hotel had the opportunity to participate in the Make a Green Choice program to reduce its carbon footprint at the conference.

A total of 127 people went without housekeeping services for a total of 150 room nights. We saved:






Gallons of Water

BTUs of Natural Gas

kWh of Electricity

Liters Cleaning Product Chemicals

Off Our Master Bill

2017 Year In Review


CREA Legislative Department The CREA Legislative Department, led by Director of Government Relations Geoff Hier with the assistance of Government Relations Specialist Heather Williams, spent a busy 2017 legislative session reviewing bills, meeting with legislators and conferring with electric co-op managers, directors and staff members. This year the department also had the assistance of Brandeberry McKenna Public Affairs, a lobbying firm. From January through the first week of May, much of staff time was focused on the Colorado General Assembly, however staff members were also involved in several other activities throughout the year. Among those activities were the NRECA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., meeting with Colorado legislative leadership at various times after the session, working on possible legislation with the electric co-ops and other stakeholders, attending conferences, co-op annual meetings and the NRECA national lobbying clinic, planning legislative events and gathering information for the annual legislative directory.

Co-op Day at the Capitol & CREA Summer Picnic CREA works to reach out to elected representatives year-round, not just during the 120-day legislative session. Each year as part of the CREA Annual Meeting, CREA hosts a reception for legislators that allows them to meet with co-op members. In 2017, 27 legislators, representatives from the PUC and staff from Congressional offices attended the legislative reception. During Co-op Day at the Capitol the next day, electric co-op managers, directors and staff members heard from Senate President Kevin Grantham (R–Cañon City), Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush (D–Steamboat Springs), chair of the House Energy & Transportation Committee. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), Lt. Governor Donna Lynne (D) and Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Office for Economic Trade & International Development. In August, the CREA Board of Directors hosted a summer picnic for legislators which included a safety demonstration by United Power linemen. Lt. Governor Donna Lynne (D) spoke at the CREA summer picnic as well, speaking about broadband and healthcare in rural parts of the state.


2017 Year In Review

2017 Colorado General Assembly


Bills Introduced


Bills Signed Into Law


Bills Postponed Indefinately


Bills Vetoed


Bills Became Law Without the Governor’s Signature


Bills Actively Tracked by CREA

NRECA Legislative Conference CREA members and staff traveled to Washington, D.C., for the NRECA Legislative Conference in April and met with Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Dist. 6), Scott Tipton (R-Dist. 3) and senior legislative staff from the other Colorado delegation offices. CREA members discussed issues that impact Colorado’s electric cooperatives with the delegation members and staff. Some of the issues covered included funding for the USDA’s rural utilities service, energy tax priorities, federal land management policies, and modernization and reform of the endangered species act.

CARE/ACRE in 2017 The CARE annual membership meeting was held in October 2017 where members voted to change the CARE year from the fiscal year of August 31 - September 1 to the calendar year of January 1 – December 31. ACRE members nationwide approved the same change in August. A $1,000 Leadership Circle level was added to the membership classification and dues schedule.

FY 2017 Membership Distribution ACRE Only




CARE + Spouse




ACRE Century


ACRE Vice-President


ACRE President


Total Membership

329 2017 Year In Review


2017 Legislative Recap The Colorado General Assembly passed 423 of the 681 bills introduced in the 2017 legislative session. Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed two, allowed three to become law without a signature and signed the remaining 418. CREA reviews all introduced legislation and advocates on behalf of the membership on those bills the board takes a position on. CREA supported SB 17-229 by Senator Chris Holbert (R-Parker) and Representatives Polly Lawrence (R-Littleton) and Diane Mitsch Bush (D-Steamboat Springs) to provide additional safety for our member employees. This legislation clarified that utility vehicles with flashing amber lights are considered emergency vehicles for purposes of the requirement that drivers exercise due care, slow down and move over when passing stationary emergency vehicles. The bill increased penalties for drivers who fail to comply with the requirements. CREA followed five bills that attempted to expand or improve broadband service statewide. HB 17-1174 by Representative Jim Wilson (R – Salida) and Senators Lucia Guzman (D – Denver) and Larry Crowder (R – Alamosa) allows counties with populations under 60,000 to establish a local improvement district to fund the construction of advanced telecommunication infrastructure (broadband). This bill passed both chambers without a dissenting vote and signed into law April 18, 2017. A bill streamlining the process for small pole attachments for cell phone systems on facilities owned by local government entities (HB 17-1193) also passed and was signed into law the same day. This bill mainly improves service in metro areas and has little impact on underserved rural portions of the state. Senate Bill 17-042 would have repealed the restriction against local governments providing cable TV and telecommunication services without a vote of the people. This bill failed in the first committee in the Senate on a party-line vote. Funding for expansion of broadband in underserved rural areas of the state has been an ongoing issue for several sessions. Legislation


2017 Year In Review

redefining what qualifies as underserved and creating a dedicated funding stream for a grant program failed. However, $9.5 million in one-time funding was moved from the telecom high-cost fund to the broadband fund during the budget process. Due to a drafting error, SB17-306 by Joint Budget Committee members Senator Kent Lambert (R – Colorado Springs) and Representative Millie Hamner (D – Dillon) was introduced late in the session to ensure proper allocation. CREA supported the passage of this successful legislation and three CREA members with broadband subsidiaries benefited from the funded grant program. CREA was actively engaged in several pieces of energy-related legislation including electric vehicle infrastructure, energy storage technology, distribution planning oversight by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the continuation of the Colorado Energy Office and limits on charges for line extension.

Senate Bill 267 In the final days of the legislative session the legislature debated Senate Bill 17-267 Sustainability of Rural Colorado. The legislation made several long-term changes to areas of state policy that affect rural Colorado. One of the significant portions of the bill reclassified the Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) as an enterprise and removed the HPF from the TABOR caps, freeing money for struggling rural hospitals. Senate Bill 17-267 will continue to be a topic of debate in the 2018 General Assembly as some legislators believe budget fixes are necessary for some of the funding mechanisms in the legislation.

Education Department In 2017, CREA offered a unique conference: Pot & Power. More than 100 people came together from as far away as California to talk about problems the marijuana industry has created for electric utilities. There was also discussion of the benefits the marijuana industry brings to rural communities, the power requirements necessary for growing marijuana and the regulatory and legal issues. Continuing its outstanding educational program for Colorado’s electric co-ops, CREA’s Education Department offered 26 courses and five multi-day, multi-speaker conferences. Co-op employees participated 643 times. These classes were taught by 69 instructors who were hired by CREA staff. In addition, 11 webinars were held for co-op employees. The training CREA provides covers multiple working groups at the co-ops and includes classes for the leaders in the co-ops, supervisors, outside employees, office support staff, accountants, human resource managers, member services and others.

Director Education By sponsoring NRECA director classes CREA saved Colorado’s co-ops $101,569 in registration fees. A total of 239 directors and managers participated in the seven NRECA classes; 86 people participated in the Electricity 101 seminars; and 36 people participated in the CFC Director Financial Workshop in Vail. Eighty percent of Colorado directors have their Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate, 50 percent have their Board Leadership certificate, and 31 percent have their Director Gold certificate.

Youth Tour & Leadership Camp

For the general managers, CREA arranged for 27 speakers to talk about industry issues.

Helping students understand the importance of getting involved in their community and the different levels of governance is an important part of the Washington D.C. Youth Tour.

To make registration easier for the co-ops and more manageable for CREA staff, CREA entered into an agreement with an online registration service. This system has been used for employee training, the Energy Innovations Summit & Fall meeting registration and the annual meeting registration.

Thirty-two students and four chaperones had the opportunity to talk to and ask questions of state and federal legislators, co-op representatives, Blue Star Mothers, tour guides, and others. At least 21 people made presentations to the students. CREA handles all of the logistics for the trip including travel, meals, meetings, activities and recruiting chaperones. Eighty-nine students attended Youth Leadership Camp at Glen Eden near Steamboat Springs. The camp focuses on teaching them life skills and providing them with background on the electric coop program, as well as how to be around electricity. Ten instructors worked with the students at camp on topics such as leadership, avian protection, electric safety, Touchstone Energy, electricity and job opportunities. Campers also had the opportunity to learn during the field trips to Craig Station and Trapper Mine.

2017 Year In Review


CEEI Activities The Colorado Electric Educational Institute Board of Directors welcomed three new directors. CEEI oversees employee education, the youth programs, Pedal the Plains, the Burn Fund, and other activities. The amount of money available to co-op employees and contractors working on co-op projects who are hurt on the job was raised in 2017 by the CEEI Burn Fund Committee. Employees are now eligible for $2,000 in assistance and contractors are eligible for $1,000. Working with CEEI, CREA applied for and received multiple grants totaling over $42,000 from industry partners. These were used for education and youth programs.

Games Managers for Task Force Raffles CREA staff worked with the Colorado Women’s Task Force to provide CREA employees to serve as a games manager at the seven raffles the Women’s Task Force ran in 2017. The raffles raise money for the Washington D.C. Youth Tour and the Youth Leadership Camp. The Task Force held seven 50/50 raffles and raised $3,724.

D.C. Youth Tour & Camp Stats 32 students and 4 chaperones attended the Washington D.C. Youth Tour. 21 speakers talked with the students during the trip. 89 students and 14 counselors attended the Youth Leadership Camp. Eight presentations were made to the students in camp, and additional speakers gave presentations while touring facilities such as Craig Station and Trapper Mine. 10

2017 Year In Review

Education by the Numbers


Employee Courses Were Held


Multi-day, Multi-speaker Conferences Were Held


Webinars Were Held


Class Seats Were Filled by Co-op Employees


Trainers Taught the Education Classes

Communicating the Co-op Message It was a year of growth and new endeavors for the CREA Communications Department. January started with the addition of a part-time position to the two-person staff at the end of January. That in-house staff was supplemented by several contractors who assisted with writing, editing, layout and design, advertising sales, proofreading and photography. The most time-consuming new projects in 2017 were learning to livestream CREA events and establishing a digital statewide directory. Both of these processes will be developed further in 2018. Two of the panels and the lunch speaker at the CREA Energy Innovations Summit were livestreamed on Facebook for the first time in 2017. This allowed people not in attendance to hear some of the presentations. A summary video was also created to use to promote the Summit. The digital statewide directory will be published in coordination with

the 2018 CREA Directory. However, work was done in 2017 to move the thousands of pieces of information contained in the directory into a digital format. The department also continued is regular focus on Colorado Country Life, the Colorado Co-op Report, the Innovations in Energy newsletter, Year in Review, the CREA Legislative Directory, the CREA Directory, annual meeting reports, meeting materials for CREA, postcards for the legislative department, invitations, brochures and more. The department also oversaw websites for CREA and CCL and the social media sites for CREA and CCL. CREA is represented on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. CCL maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. These sites are all ways for Colorado’s electric co-ops to connect with their members and others interested in co-ops and the electric industry.

Highlights from 2016 included: Colorado Country Life The magazine is designed to help Colorado’s electric co-ops connect with their members on a regular basis and create a way for the co-ops to share industryrelated information through a trusted resource.

More than 226,000 members of 17 Colorado electric co-ops receive the magazine each month. As part of the effort to connect with members, CCL finds new ways to get readers involved with the magazine. In 2017, CCL welcomed letters to the editor, invited readers to submit photos of themselves with the magazine during their travels, accepted funny stories from readers, offered monthly contests readers could enter for a chance at a prize, sponsored a photo contest with nearly 900 entries, asked for stories on brushes with notable people and reviewed books from local authors and publishing houses. Readers from every subscribing co-op connected with the magazine through all of these avenues.

2017 Year In Review


Website Awards Colorado Country Life’s website at www.coloradocountrylife.coop won a Willies Award of Merit in the best website competition among NRECA statewide magazine websites. The magazine also won an Award of Merit for a Viewpoint column written by Executive Director Kent Singer. The Willies Awards, named for the co-ops’ Willie Wiredhand mascot, are awarded each summer by the NRECA Statewide Editors Association.

Circulation Stats 2017 489



Colorado Country Life Monthly Circulation

Colorado Country Life Annual Circulation

Colorado Co-op Report Monthly Circulation




Members Sent Photos of Themselves with the Magazine

Readers Entered the Monthly Classified Contest

Letters to the Editor Were Printed




Funny Stories from Readers Printed

Colorado-Connected Books Reviewed in November Issue

Photos Entered in Annual Photo Contest

PEDAL THE PLAINS Colorado’s Electric Cooperatives’ Powering the Plains bike team rode in the September Pedal the Plains bike tour of eastern Colorado. Team members rode 177 miles from Kersey to Keenesburg to Brush and raised $3,412.17 for Energy Outreach Colorado. 12

2017 Year In Review

800 Innovations in Energy E-Newsletter

Safety and Loss Control Department The year 2017 was the third year the Safety and Loss Control Department operated in the format introduced in 2015, which has doubled the amount of time the job training and safety instructors spend at their cooperatives. This new program has resulted in stronger relationships between the CREA loss control team and the cooperatives served. That department includes Director of Safety and Loss Control Dale Kishbaugh, CLCP, who joined CREA April 10; job training and safety instructors Dan Whitesides, CLCP, and Curt Graham; and Risk Management Coordinator Angelea Meyer.

These employees were instrumental in the continued roll out of the popular program Speak Up/Listen Up in 2017. The training has now reached over half of the cooperatives. This program reinforces communication — at all levels, at all times — when it comes to the safety of employees or others. The program encourages healthy relationships and interaction between departments to ensure every one goes home safe. Since the program was introduced, the need for a follow up program has been addressed with a follow up visit to the co-op to ensure that these principles are instilled in the safety culture.

Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program In 2017, seven cooperatives were scheduled for their onsite observation. In April, Bud Branham of NRECA came to Mountain Parks Electric, Inc., to train co-op volunteers on the principles of RESAP, and qualify them as onsite observers. The class had more than 50 participants and was well received.

Co-ops Volunteering Employees to Assist with RESAP


Delta Montrose Electric Association

NRECA launched a new tool in the RESAP system called the Safety Health Check. This component replaces the RESAP application and consists of an Internal Safety Assessments checklist and a Roles and Responsibilities checklist. The purpose is to focus on accountability and illustrate that safety is everyone’s job.


Mountain Parks Electric Association


Highline Electric Association


Morgan County Rural Electric Association

Onsite observations require that qualified observers leave their co-ops for a week and dedicate their time and expertise to another co-op to help improve safety. The Safety and Loss Control Department could not do these observations without the commitment from these fabulous volunteers. To the right are the co-ops that volunteered their employees:


Poudre Valley Electric Association


K.C. Electric Association


Southeast Colorado Power Association


Gunnison County Electric Association

2017 Year In Review


Loss Control Seminar 2017 For the 25th year, CREA hosted its July Loss Control Seminar. This year, Jim Willis from InDev Tactical taught a five-hour course on security. Jim began his career as a lineman and became an electrical engineer for a co-op. He then went overseas with NRECA and worked on anti-terrorism movements. He brought all of this experience, expertise and co-op values to the seminar where he trained attendees on the importance of securing buildings and practicing drills. Also at the conference, Dan Whitesides gave a presentation on RESAP and the importance of creating and maintain a safe workplace. Angelea Meyer gave an update on the new APPA Safety Manual, which included 193 changes and updates. Dale Kishbaugh presented on mutual aid and emergency management, which has been a huge focus for the Safety and Loss Control Department in 2017. Lastly, to better serve CREA member cooperatives, the Safety and Loss Control Department developed a Services and Training Programs Catalog. The catalog is a diverse collection of classes and services CREA offers the electric cooperatives. It was first introduced at the Loss Control Seminar and is now available online at crea.coop on the Safety and Loss Control page.

Safety and Loss Control by the Numbers Miles Driven to Serve Co-ops Across the State:





Angelea Meyer

Dan Whitesides

Curt Graham

Dale Kishbaugh

Numbers for JT&S Instructor Dan Whitesides, CLCP Speak Up/Listen Up Training: 9 co-ops: Grand Valley Power Gunnison County Electric Assoc. Mountain Parks Electric San Miguel Power Assoc. Empire Electric Assoc. San Luis Valley REC Sangre de Cristo Electric San Isabel Electric Mountain View Electric

Pole Top Rescue: 5 co-ops Confined Space Training: 8 co-ops Hotline School Instructor and Field Safety Team: 2 weeks CREA Loss Control Seminar CRE O&E Conference WCCC Lineman School: 4 student evaluations Competent Person Certification in confined spaces and trenching and shoring Active Shooter Training: 6 hours


2017 Year In Review

Numbers for JT&S Instructor Curt Graham Hotstick & Ground Testing: 7 co-ops

Crew Visits: 10 co-ops

Dielectric Testing with VON Tester: 9 co-ops

RESAP Walk Thru: 8 co-ops

Flagger Training: 4 co-ops

Lock Out Tag Out: 4 co-ops

Forklift Training: 4 co-ops

Job Briefings: 1 co-op

Noise & Hearing Assessments: 3 co-ops

Sub Inspections: 1 co-op

Pole Top & Bucket Rescue: 7 co-ops

The Hotstick & Ground Testing, Dielectric Testing, Flagger Testing, Pole Top & Bucket Rescue were presented at multiple sites for some co-ops: 2

Holy Cross


Mountain Parks 2




Yampa Valley


Highline 4




East/West Operations Managers meeting Hotline School field safety Team: 2 weeks Co-op Safety Committee meetings: 3 co-ops RESAP observer training Annual meeting attendance: 2 co-ops Storm damage assistance: 2 co-ops 2 CLCP trainings

Safety and Loss Control Staff Year in Review


NUTSEA Conference Attendance

Active shooter training with Jim Willis: 2 co-ops

Two Area Administrative Meetings

Two Serious Incident and Fatality Task Force Meetings

100% of Co-ops Received Safety and Loss Control Training

2017 Year In Review


The Colorado Rural Electric Association: Your Trusted Partner by Kent Singer Trust. When you look up “trust” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first definition is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Character. Ability. Strength. Truth. As CREA’s executive director, I’m pleased to report that your trade association embodies these core attributes and works every day to earn your trust. We firmly believe in the CREA bargain proposition: your cooperative pays us a small portion of the hardearned money your members pay you and we provide the best safety, education, communications and government relations services possible. We provide services that would cost you much more if you hired your own staff or contractors to do the same. Looking back at 2017, CREA enjoyed a strong year in each of our service areas. We hired a new director of safety and loss control, Dale Kishbaugh, in April and he has already brought a fresh approach and new ideas to our safety training program. Liz Fiddes, our director of education and member services, continues to provide outstanding training courses for electric co-op directors and staff at a significant cost savings to your co-op. Mona Neeley and her team continue to produce a first-rate magazine in Colorado Country Life, which has the largest subscription base of any consumer magazine published in Colorado. Mona also leads CREA’s broader communications efforts including our social media presence. Politics: It Ain’t Getting Easier My introduction to the Colorado General Assembly occurred in 1985 when I took a job as a staff attorney in what was then called the Legislative Drafting Office. The drafting office was (and still is) a nonpartisan staff agency that prepares all of the bills and amendments considered by the legislature each year. In 1985, the state senate had 24 Republicans and 11 Democrats; the House


2017 Year In Review

had 47 Republicans and 18 Democrats. The Speaker of the House, Carl “Bev” Bledsoe, was a rancher and the agriculture committees in both houses were comprised in large part of representatives who made their living on farms or ranches. Fast forward to 2018. This year, the Colorado Senate will have an 18-16-1 Republican majority. (Sen. Cheri Jahn changed her registration from Democrat to Independent just before the session began.) The House of Representatives will have a 37-28 Democrat majority; there are very few members of the General Assembly who make their living on the land. So, while years ago we could count on our rural representatives and fellow coop members to watch our backs in the legislative arena, today we have to reach out to urban and suburban legislators to be successful in our legislative efforts. This evolving political dynamic has required us to develop new tactics and strategies. We work year-round to develop relationships and partners: we can’t go it alone. We’ve also had to up our game when it comes to finding and supporting candidates for office. In the past two election cycles, our political action committee, CARE, has gone straight to our members and asked for support of our 527 activities. Our 527 efforts have been extremely successful and much of the credit goes to Geoff Hier, director of government relations. Maintaining a balance of power in the Colorado General Assembly is important to our political success and our work has contributed to that end. As The Denver Post reported in a recent series of articles this year, there is a widening gap between the economic vitality of the Front Range and many rural communities where electric co-ops provide power. This gap is also reflected in the balance of power in the Colorado legislature; our fate is in the hands of urban and suburban legislators. The money we raise and spend in support of candidates who support co-ops has been instrumental in leveling the playing

field. We will always use these funds wisely and only to lift up candidates; CARE never uses negative campaign messages. Innovation: Co-ops Lead the Way It’s difficult to keep up with all of the innovative co-op projects and programs that our members have initiated around the state. From electric cars to community solar, utility scale renewables to distributed generation, new rate designs to battery storage, Colorado’s electric coops are embracing new technology. If a strong business case can be made, Colorado’s electric co-ops are eager to support new approaches to power generation. Looking ahead to 2018, we have retained a social media consulting firm to assist us in telling this great co-op story. We need to do a better job letting the world know that Colorado’s electric co-ops employ some of the smartest, most forward-looking people in the industry and we are embracing change. For us to be successful, we have to be recognized as innovators. YOU Make It Happen! I am happy to report that once again in 2017 every electric co-op in Colorado was a member of the statewide association. We have an incredibly diverse membership based on our geography, our culture and our politics, but we must stand together as members of the electric co-op community. Our common objectives such as serving our member-owners, helping our communities and improving the quality of life in rural Colorado are more important than our differences. Our pledge to you is that we will do everything in our power to support your co-op and ride even harder for the coop brand in 2018.

Kent Singer Executive Director

Working Today as We Look to the Future by Jack Schneider As a member of the Poudre Valley REA board and president of the CREA board I think a lot about the future of the electric industry. This includes the legislative pressures we anticipate, the need to keep current in a fast-changing industry and our duty to the member-owners to balance costs, efficiency, clean energy and safety. On the Poudre Valley REA board we collaborate, agree and sometimes agree to disagree to create a better co-op for our members. To be an effective trade association, CREA must also collaborate with many stakeholders to reach a successful outcome. At the legislature, there are always bills impacting the way we do business. To achieve our objectives we must develop coalitions with like-minded organizations, work with others on compromises and nurture relationships with legislators. In any given election cycle, one-third of the legislature turns over due to term limits, retirements and election results. Building relationships and educating lawmakers is a year-round endeavor and doesn’t just happen during the 120-day legislative session. Many bills are well-intentioned but don’t work for the cooperatives and our service areas; others come with a hefty price tag. In the next few years, the CREA board anticipates discussing multiple bills that could significantly affect our co-ops. We anticipate bills increasing the renewable energy standard, mandating battery storage and revisiting retail competition. Developing strong partnerships is key to our success, and your co-op can help with this by building bonds with community leaders. That means participating in community forums and inviting community leaders to your board meetings to talk about issues important to your co-op. We also expect legislation to address climate change. Last year Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent from 2005 levels

by 2025, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent by 2025 and 35 percent by 2030 from 2012 levels, and achieve electricity savings of 2 percent of total electricity sales per year by 2020. Legislation to implement these goals is likely to be introduced. Co-ops are not regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, but it is imperative that we monitor PUC dockets and participate where necessary. The PUC has several electric utility and broadband dockets open that the CREA staff has been monitoring. Additionally, as a backdrop to the legislative and regulatory activity, the state’s power suppliers are considering joining the Southwest Power Pool. CREA has provided several opportunities for directors and managers to learn about organized markets, including presentations by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association staff at a board meeting and an Electricity 101 education session. We also had representatives from the utilities, SPP, and the PUC discuss this issue during October’s Energy Innovations Summit. The CREA board members complete an annual survey to make sure that the board and the staff are in lockstep. The survey results show that the board looks to staff to bring industry issues to its attention. Having the officers of the CREA Managers Association serve on the board also provides expert context to many issues. Staff is committed to bringing, not only legislative issues, but safety, education, communications and community engagement opportunities to the board’s attention. All of the legislative issues that the board takes a position on must be agreed to by two-thirds of the board. With the reorganization of CREA’s Safety and Loss Control Department and a new manager leading this team, CREA has refocused its commitment to keeping our employees safe. The Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program continues to be an important tool for utilities to evaluate their safety culture, but

CREA’s work is just one aspect of a total safety program. I encourage each director to work with your manager, take an active interest in the safety culture at your co-op, and create and implement a solid safety improvement plan. Educating ourselves and the co-op employees is another important piece of the services CREA offers. If someone told me that I would be attending a Pot & Power Conference when I joined the board I could never have imagined it. But CREA is addressing areas of concern and opportunity for its members and collaborating with people and organizations outside the co-op program to meet its strategic planning goal of improving partnerships to enhance its interests. CREA’s communications team members continue to support the membership through Colorado Country Life, the multiple newsletters and directories they produce, the community outreach they coordinate and their social media program. Your co-op should be engaging with the communications staff and taking advantage of its expertise. This will be my last opportunity to address the membership as CREA’s board president. I appreciate the CREA board for allowing me the opportunity to serve you and thank CREA’s staff members for their support. Your statewide will be in good hands with CREA’s next president. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

Jack Schneider President

2017 Year In Review


Treasurer’s Report by Virginia “Ginny” Buczek I’m happy to report that CREA’s unaudited financial statements are in excellent condition. By department, margins for year-end 2017 are:

General Administration




Safety & Loss Control

$30,997 Total $284,662

In 2017, the General Administration budget was impacted when a hail storm struck the building. The total damage done to the building was $157,401. All the damage, except a $500 deductible, was covered by Federated Insurance. CREA had budgeted for a partial roof replacement and funds to remodel the kitchen; we ended up getting a full roof replacement and a remodeled kitchen. In addition, the board approved funds to paint the interior and install new carpet throughout the building. The total cost of repairs and remodeling was $240,486, or $15,126 over CREA’s budget. CREA continues to save money on its RS retirement plan prepayment. In 2013, the board approved a $622,121 payment to the retirement plan with the promise of discounted rates in the future. CREA has enjoyed savings every year since making the prepayment. In 2017 that savings totaled $72,418. Since 2013, the savings has totaled $326,913. The CREA membership benefited from savings in other areas. Directors participating in the NRECA courses sponsored by CREA in 2017 saved $101,569


2017 Year In Review

in registration fees. The exhibitors who participated in the Energy Innovations Summit contributed $21,000 in sponsorship fees to offset the costs of the meeting. The board approved signing a twoyear printing contract with Publication Printers for printing Colorado Country Life magazine. The contract locks the rate for two years, and protects us against increases in paper costs. Working with the Colorado Electric Educational Institute, CREA’s members are benefiting from multiple grants from industry partners for our education and youth programs. These grants total over $42,000. Finally, your co-op’s membership in CREA gives you access to Safe Electricity which is an online resource supplying safety information to complement your co-op’s safety education program. By purchasing this program on behalf of our members, the price is dramatically less than if each member signed up individually. Because of CREA’s strong cash position, the board approved a 2018 budget with no dues increase. This is the second year in a row without an increase. The General Administration and Safety and Loss Control Department budgets did increase, but these increases will be covered using CREA’s cash instead of raising dues. The General Administration is budgeting for a loss of $133,250 and the Safety and Loss Control budget is anticipating a loss of $78,143. The Communications Department anticipates ending 2018 with a $55,658 margin. By policy, CREA is required to hold two months of operating capital in reserve. CREA’s cash exceeds our policy requirements and totaled $1,928,881 at year-end. The 2018 budget also includes changes to the employee insurance package. The cost of the insurance coverage CREA offers its employees

increased 4.96 percent. The board approved increasing the employee office copayment amount and the cost of using out-of-network providers. Looking forward, the 2018 budget does not propose any new staff positions, but we are planning two new projects: (1) We have retained a firm to help with our social media outreach efforts, and (2) We will be participating in the NRECA International program. The cost of these two programs is $78,000. The cost of subscribing to Colorado Country Life magazine will remain at 37 cents per copy. More than 226,000 electric co-op members are receiving this monthly publication. This 32-page magazine is still the most cost-effective way for your co-op to communicate with your members. The Safety and Loss Control Department continues to receive funding from Federated Insurance to offset the cost of this program. Federated donated $124,273 to this department in 2017. As a service organization, CREA’s biggest expense is its employees, but those 13 employees are its biggest asset. By working with our industry partners staff is able to leverage your dues and provide services that benefit all areas of your operations. Your statewide is in a strong financial position and well situated for the future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as treasurer.

Virginia “Ginny” Buczek Treasurer

Colorado Rural Electric Association

Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2017 Unaudited

Current Year

Previous Year

$ 1,928,881.40 9,609.96 53,841.20 (12,268.85) 26,089.23 2,006,152.94

$ 1,608,242.83 8,577.51 30,611.22 (12,268.85) 43,028.27 1,678,190.98

Fixed Assets Land Property & Equipment, net of accumulated depreciation

288,884.00 393,351.90

288,884.00 371,242.33

Total Fixed Assets Other Assets: Long-Term Investments

682,235.90 26,882.72

660,126.33 28,102.72

$ 2,715,271.56

$ 2,366,420.03

$ 42,455.62 111,334.56 6,015.16

($ 10,988.99) 102,487.55 4,117.72

Total Current Liabilities Long-Term Liabilities

159,805.34 0.00

95,616.28 0.00

Total Liabilities



Net Assets Fund Balances - G/A Fund Balances - Safety and Loss Control Fund Balances - Communications YTD Profit/(Loss)

(117,623.58) 751,406.98 1,637,020.35 284,662.47

(247,506.70) 712,423.50 1,453,253.40 352,633.55

Total Net Assets



$ 2,715,271.56

$ 2,366,420.03

ASSETS Current Assets Cash - General Funds A/R General Association A/R Communications Reserve Doubtful Accts - Communications Prepaid Expenses Total Current Assets

Total Assets LIABILITIES Current Liabilities Accounts Payable Accrued Liabilities Deferred Revenue

Total Liabilities and Net Assets

2017 Year In Review


5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216