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La Plata Electric Association CEO steps down after nearly five years

Co-op says Jessica Matlock helped right the ship financially

La Plata Electric Association CEO Jessica Matlock is moving on from the power cooperative.

Matlock is leaving to take a job as CEO of PNGC Power, a cooperative based in Clackamas, Oregon, according to a news release.


She took over the position in 2019 and has been credited with leading the charge to strengthen LPEA’s financial position for its members.

LPEA serves La Plata and Archuleta counties, and portions of Hinsdale, Mineral and San Juan counties.

“I am extremely proud of the team we’ve built at LPEA and the many strategic items we’ve been able to accomplish these past five years,” Matlock said in a news release. “While I am very much looking forward to my next career opportunity leading a G&T, I am also excited that my LPEA colleagues and the LPEA Board are in a much stronger position than when I arrived to capitalize on the ever-changing and dynamic energy marketplace and continue providing great service to all our members throughout the region.”

The co-op said before Matlock’s arrival, LPEA ranked near the bottom in financial performance for cooperatives, but it is now in the top three in Colorado.

She will begin her role as PNGC Power’s CEO on April 1. LPEA’s Board of Directors plans to implement a transition plan to address the organization’s short- and long-term leadership needs.

LPEA did not specify what that plan will look like.

“In my three years on the LPEA board, and especially in this last year as board president, it has been an honor and privilege to work alongside CEO Matlock. Jessica has done an incredible job transforming the financial and cultural health of LPEA,” said LPEA board President Ted Compton in a news release. “While her departure is unfortunate, she leaves LPEA on solid footing and I am confident that our committed and capable Board of Directors will chart a path forward that will continue LPEA’s positive trajectory for our co-op and its members.”

Before her time at LPEA, Matlock worked as an energy expert for the U.S. Senate and held multiple positions with the Bonneville Power Administration.

During her time as CEO, she has overseen the co-op through negotiations with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which is owned by 42 distribution cooperatives, including LPEA.

In 2019, LPEA began looking to escape a restrictive contract with its wholesale energy supplier, Tri-State. Under the terms of the contract, effective through 2050, LPEA must purchase 95% of its power from Tri-State, and locally generated power would be limited to 5%.

Negotiations over a release or partial buyout have been tumultuous and reached a crossroads last December when LPEA sued Tri-State, alleging bad faith negotiating.

A desire to use more environmentally sustainable power motivated the decision to exit the Tri-State contract.

In addition, under Matlock’s leadership, LPEA built the first cooperative-owned community solar project in the region; partnered to bring the first vehicle to grid in Colorado (the ability to push energy back onto the power grid from the battery of an electric vehicle); and implemented grid monitoring systems to increase LPEA’s resiliency and response times.

LPEA spokeswoman Amanda Anderson said the co-op did not have further updates about Matlock’s replacement as of Wednesday.

Matlock was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.


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