LPEA is no place for political extremism

Today, I put my husband, Joe Wheeling, on the plane to Denver for, potentially, the last time as LPEA’s Tri-State representative. He has been the Tri-State rep for three years and never missed a meeting. When he takes a job, he does it.

Please let me explain to you, the membership, something the candidates who keep speaking out against “the old guard” are not telling you: Simply, there is a difference between “generation” and “distribution.”

Tri-State Generation is the creator, the “generator,” of the power we use. Tri-State also holds a legally binding contract that requires us to buy 95 percent of our energy from the company. LPEA is the “distributor” of the power generated by Tri-State. Legally, LPEA is allowed to secure only 5 percent of its energy from local, renewable generation sources. Joe has finessed his way onto the Contracts Committee at Tri-State and has been working to increase this limit. If he goes, LPEA will lose its hard-earned footing, and the entire membership loses.

You’ve also not been told the electrical grid is not engineered for two-way transmission. Think of it like a river, with the power flowing to us. How can water run two ways in the same drainage? Joe’s opposition would like you to believe we can each generate our own power, on our rooftop, and then send it back up the river. The infrastructure is simply not in place. It needs to be redesigned, and while we all want that to happen, it can’t be forced as Joe’s opposition insists.

Until the infrastructure is redesigned, Tri-State is our only option for 30,565 members (members without personal solar panels) to receive reliable power.

LPEA is a nonprofit, member-owned regional “distributor” of electricity – not a political arena for extreme positions. Friends, please don’t let LPEA be hijacked by a political group who ignores the realities of running a distribution cooperative.

If Joe is not re-elected, we will lose what we’ve gained for local – and properly funded – renewable generation. You will be able to lay that loss directly at the feet of Joe’s uninformed opposition.

Jennifer J. Wheeling


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