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Media Release


January 29, 2014

PRC Says “No” to Tri-State  

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) voted Wednesday January 29, 2014 to continue the suspension of the rate increase proposed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s (KCEC) wholesale electric power provider. The means the proposed 7 to 10% increase in rates will not go into effect until Tri-State proves it is justified. A hearing date for this matter has yet to be scheduled. As of the end of November 2013, the protest had saved KCEC members $1.313 million.    

Tri-State had petitioned for a rehearing, contending they should be allowed to charge the proposed rates until the case is heard and a decision made by the PRC. KCEC members showed up in force at the hearing. The crowd was estimated at more than 300, including many elected officials and other community leaders. During the hearing Tri-State’s legal team representative and the representatives for the cooperative’s legal teams were allowed 20 minutes to present their case. Concerned citizens were also allowed to speak. Taos Mayor Darren Cordova, Questa Mayor Ester Garcia, County Manager Steve Archuleta, Espanola Chamber president Kelly Duran, Taos Chamber Chair Brad Malone, as well as KCEC board of trustees members Peter Adang, David Torrez and Bobby Ortega all spoke of the harm higher electric rates would do in New Mexico’s already challenging economy. At the conclusion of the presentations Commissioner Valerie Espinoza said, “I hear you.” Referring to the difficult times faced by her constituents.

The case will now be referred to a hearing examiner, who will set the schedule for when the rate case will be heard by the PRC. The case will then return to the PRC with recommendations. The PRC has the authority to order implementation of the rate increase or deny the increase and set rates according to what they think is fair and equitable. Kit Carson Electric Co-op, along with Springer, Continental Divide and Jemez co-ops, protested the proposed increase. Initially Tri-State officials indicated they would not propose an increase for 2014. KCEC and two other New Mexico electric cooperatives protested the proposed 2013 rate increase beginning that action in October 2012.     

Originally Tri-State proposed increasing rates to its 44 member electric cooperatives in October 2012. This was the ninth proposed increase since 2000. Each time KCEC was alone it opposing the increase and, with no other resistance, the increases went into effect. In 2012 however, two other co-ops, Continental Divide and Springer, joined in KCEC in opposition. The latest protest added Jemez Electric Cooperative to those formally submitting notices of opposition. Since at least three cooperatives are in opposition, the increase was put before the PRC for a decision. With the addition of Jemez nearly half of all New Mexico co-op members are represented in the protest.

The New Mexico Supreme Court heard arguments by Tri-State on Wednesday December 18, 2013 in Santa Fe that they should be allowed to charge the increased rates until the case is decided by the PRC. Tri-State has also filed suit in federal court claiming the PRC does not have jurisdiction over them due to their involvement in interstate commerce. “We are very stubborn when it comes to watching out for our member’s best interest,” said Reyes. “We believe Tri-State is being punitive in the way they structured the proposed rate increase last year and again this year. As yet they have offered no justification. We intend to continue to oppose them at the PRC and in state and federal court.”


January 15, 2014

PRC Votes to Rehear Suspension of Proposed Tri-State Rate Increase   

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) voted on Wednesday January 8, 2014 to rehear arguments on the suspension of the proposed rate increase by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s (KCEC) wholesale electric power provider. The new hearing will be held on January 29, 2014 at 9:30am in the PERA Building across from the Rotunda in Santa Fe. The public is invited to attend.

There are broad implications of the January 29 decision. If the PRC votes the protests by the four co-ops are invalid the proposed rate increase would go into effect immediately. This would mean a 7% to 10% increase in electric rates for all New Mexico Cooperative members. It would also mean Tri-State would be able to recoup the revenue they were not able to charge while the protest was ongoing 2013. In addition, the PRC would be abdicating regulatory authority over Tri-State. Consequently, they would have no authority in regard to the proposed transmission line through the Rio Grande National Monument and the increase in rates that would accompany that construction. This is in spite of the transmission line having no benefit to KCEC members. It would also leave KCEC little recourse in regard to the 5% cap on renewable energy imposed by Tri-State.    

The PRC voted on December 11, 2013 to suspend the rate increase. This means, until the merits of the rate increase are heard and a final decision made, the rates will not go into effect. The decision on January 8, 2014 means they will allow Tri-State to argue for imposing the increased rates immediately. The rate increase requested by Tri-State for 2014 is nearly identical to that proposed for 2013. KCEC officials estimate the 2014 increase would raise member’s electric bills an average of about 7 to 10%. As of the end of November 2013 the protest has saved KCEC members $1.313 million. If the PRC decides the protests are invalid Tri-State would be able to recoup this money. Tri-State has also requested a rate design change that would take away the benefit of off-peak electric usage. As the rates are designed now KCEC members can save money by using less electricity during peak times (6am to 1pm and 4 to 9pm) and less during off-peak times (1 to 4pm and 9pm to 6am). The rate design change will make on-peak from 7am to 11pm, which would make off-peak times difficult to use. 

If the PRC finds the protest valid the proposed increase will be assigned to a hearing examiner for review. The case will then return to the PRC with recommendations. The PRC has the authority to order implementation of the rate increase or deny the increase and set rates according to what they think is fair and equitable. Kit Carson Electric Co-op, along with Springer, Continental Divide and Jemez co-ops, protested the proposed increase. Initially Tri-State officials indicated they would not propose an increase for 2014. KCEC and two other New Mexico electric cooperatives protested the proposed 2013 rate increase beginning that action in October 2012.     

At the same meeting KCEC CEO, Luis Reyes, also made a presentation to the PRC regarding a recent Tri-State Board of Directors decision to eliminate any co-op from participating in their energy efficiency programs if they are not paying the increased wholesale electric rate. This means the 12 New Mexico co-ops are not able to take advantage of rebate programs that are substantially paid for with the rates paid for electricity. According to Reyes, “This decision by the Tri-State board is clearly punitive and meant to try to divide the New Mexico co-ops. We hope all 44 members of the Tri-State system see through this action.”  

Originally Tri-State proposed increasing rates to its 44 member electric cooperatives in October 2012. This was the ninth proposed increase since 2000. Each time KCEC was alone it opposing the increase and, with no other resistance, the increases went into effect. In 2012 however, two other co-ops, Continental Divide and Springer, joined in KCEC in opposition. The latest protest added Jemez Electric Cooperative to those formally submitting notices of opposition. Since at least three cooperatives are in opposition, the increase was put before the PRC for a decision. With the addition of Jemez nearly half of all New Mexico co-op members are represented in the protest.

In January 2013 Tri-State requested interim rate relief from the PRC, which would have meant the rate increase would have gone into effect until the PRC decided the case. Due to strong opposition by CEO Luis Reyes, the KCEC Board of Trustees and KCEC members, the PRC denied the interim rate and did so again when Tri-State resubmitted in May 2013. The New Mexico Supreme Court heard arguments by Tri-State on Wednesday December 18, 2013 in Santa Fe that they should be allowed to charge the increased rates until the case is decided by the PRC. Tri-State has also filed suit in federal court claiming the PRC does not have jurisdiction over them due to their involvement in interstate commerce. “We are very stubborn when it comes to watching out for our member’s best interest,” said Reyes. “We believe Tri-State is being punitive in the way they structured the proposed rate increase last year and again this year. As yet they have offered no justification. We intend to continue to oppose them at the PRC and in state and federal court.”


January 15, 2014

Kit Carson CEO Elected to NM Green Chamber Board

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative CEO, Luis Reyes, has been elected to the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The NM Green Chamber is an advocacy group focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency throughout the state. Board president, Bob White, made the announcement on January 13, 2014.

KCEC was recently named the national Utility of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association. Under Reyes leadership KCEC has developed well over six megawatts of solar energy within their service territory. Included in that total is New Mexico’s first Community Solar array. This array, located at Taos Charter School, allows KCEC members to own panels on the 90kW array. The electricity produced by the panels is credited to the member’s power bill.

Other solar arrays within KCEC’s service territory include a 1.25mW array in Amalia, built on land owned by the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association and a 1mW concentrated solar array on a former mine tailing site owned by Chevron Mining Corperation near Questa New Mexico. The combination of these two solar arrays means all homes and businesses from Questa north to the Colorado border are solar powered on a sunny day.

 

“We have made a great deal of progress creating a New Energy Economy in Taos,” said Reyes. “The election to the New Mexico Green Chamber board allows us to have a stronger voice on the state legislative level. I’m very proud to be a part of the effort to bring renewable energy to more citizens of New Mexico.

 

NM Supreme Court Hears Tri-State Rate Increase Case

The New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments from lawyers representing Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc., and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday December 18, 2013. Tri-State supplies wholesale electricity to KCEC for use by its members. KCEC and three other co-ops are involved in a rate protest with Tri-State. The PRC has ruled the rate increase be suspended until they have an opportunity to decide its merits. At issue before the Supreme Court is whether Tri-State should be allowed to implement the higher rates until the PRC issues its ruling. As justification, Tri-State’s legal councel contended they were losing money “hand over fist” due to the rate suspension, although financial forecasts predict Tri-State’s margin (profit) at about $76 million for 2013.

KCEC CEO Luis Reyes commented, “As a cooperative, Tri-State has an obligation to provide reliable electric service to its members at a reasonable cost, just as Kit Carson Co-op does. We reviewed their financial reports, which as of the end of October 2013 showed margins over $61 million compared to $33 million for the same period last year, a $28 million increase in profits. In addition Tri-State announced they will return $10 million in capital credits to the members in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, excluding New Mexico. We also reviewed their projected margins for 2014. From this information we have found no justification for a rate increase or rate design change.” He added, “The rate design change punishes consumers for saving electricity by using more during off-peak times and conserving during on-peak times. We feel this sends the wrong message to our members at a time when they have made great strides by becoming one of the lowest per capita energy consumers in the country.”    

This is the ninth rate increase proposed by Tri-State since becoming KCEC’s electricity supplier in 2000. KCEC has protested each increase. In the other cases KCEC was the lone protester. Legislation passed in 2000 allows the PRC electric rate oversite if three or more cooperatives protest. The latest battles began in 2012, when Tri-State proposed an increase in rates and change in rate design. Since three co-ops protested they received standing with the PRC. The PRC suspended the rate increase in November of 2012. In July of 2013 Tri-State withdrew its increase proposal. In November of 2013 Tri-State proposed a nearly identical increase for 2014. This time four co-ops, Jemez, Springer, Continental Divide and KCEC, protested. On December 11, 2013 the PRC again suspended the proposed increase. As of the end of November 2013 the protest has saved KCEC members over $1.313 million. Concievably, if the NM Supreme Court rules in Tri-State’s favor, they could attempt to recoop the savings. No date has been set for the NM Supreme Court to render a decision in this matter. “We will need to wait and see how the court rules,” said Reyes. “We feel we have a very valid argument that Tri-State does not need a rate increase based on their 2013 financial performance and is not being financially harmed by the suspension of their proposed rate increase.”

In a related matter, Tri-State announced a decision by their board of trustees eliminating New Mexico cooperatives from participation in their energy efficiency programs. These range from rebates on energy saving products to matching funds for energy efficient home improvement projects for low income households. The 12 New Mexico co-ops are specifically singled out for not submitting to the rate increase. The other 32 co-ops in the Tri-State system located in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska are able to utilize the rebates and energy efficiency matches. “We believe this is punative on the part of the Tri-State board,” Reyes further commented. “KCEC and the other New Mexico co-ops are paying for all but about seven to ten percent of these programs, which is the amount our members are saving due to our protest of the rate increase. KCEC has agressively pursued energy efficiency by assisting our members, particularly those of low income, in taking advantage of the rebates and matches offered through Tri-State. It is a shame Tri-State has decided to punish us by taking it out on our members and our environment.”

Questions regarding the rate increase and rate design change should be directed to the KCEC Public Information Office at (575) 758-2258 ext. 143 or sfuhlendorf@kitcarson.com.

 

The new Eagle Nest Elementary/Middle School Solar Array located on the roof of the horse barn used

for the school's agricultural program.

 

Collaboration is Key for New Eagle Nest Elementary Solar Array

Nestled in the picturesque Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Village of Eagle Nest is now home to a 98.7kW solar array. The array, located at the Eagle Nest Elementary/Middle School, was energized on December 12, 2013. It came about through the collaboration of school officials, members of the Cimarron School Board, solar contractor Mark Johnson of Sol Luna Solar and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.

The array produces enough power to completely supply the school on a sunny day. Over the course of a year about 70% of the schools energy use will come from the abundant northern New Mexico sunshine. According to Kit Carson CEO Luis Reyes, “The commitment on the part of school officials to tap into solar power is admirable. The working relationship we have developed with Eagle Nest  School leaders and Mark Johnson of Sol Luna Solar made this a very smooth process.”    

 If you have questions about solar projects in the KCEC service territory, please contact the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Public Information Office at (575) 758-2258 ext. 143 or e-mailsfuhlendorf@kitcarson.com.   

 

Phone Scam Alert click here For Details

 

KCEC Efforts Make Tri-State Rate Increase Unlikely in 2013

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative has been involved in a lengthy battle with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the provider of electricity which KCEC distributes to its members, over a proposed increase in rates to their member cooperatives. The efforts of the KCEC Board of Trustees, CEO Luis Reyes and many KCEC members continue to pay off as it is unlikely the rate increase will go into effect in 2013.

Tri-State proposed increasing rates to its 44 member electric cooperatives in October 2012. This is the ninth increase they have proposed an increase since 2000. Each time KCEC was alone it opposing the increase and with no other resistance the increases went into effect. This time however two other co-ops, Continental Divide and Springer, joined in KCEC in opposition. Since three cooperatives are in opposition, the increase may be decided by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC). Tri-State requested interim rate relief from the PRC in January 2013, which would have meant the increase would have gone into effect until the PRC decided the case. Due to strong opposition by KCEC members the PRC denied the interim rate and did so again when Tri-State resubmitted in May 2013. Tri-State has also filed suit in federal court claiming the PRC does not have jurisdiction over them due to their involvement in interstate commerce.

 

The denial of the interim rate has saved KCEC members $360,000 from January until the end of April 2013. “We are very stubborn when it comes to watching out for our member’s best interest,” said KCEC CEO Luis Reyes. “We believe Tri-State is being punitive in the way they have structured their rate increase. We intend to continue to oppose them at the PRC and in federal court. 

 

KCEC Fights Fire with Aggressive Maintenance and Prevention

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative maintains approximately 2,500 miles of high voltage power lines within its service territory. Many of these lines cross through forests and other areas susceptible wildfire. With the extreme draught conditions being experienced in New Mexico, these areas are particularly vulnerable. KCEC has gone to great lengths to ensure the vital resource they provide does not cause a wildfire.

“Maintenance is number one at Kit Carson Co-op,” according to KCEC CEO Luis Reyes. “We have full-time personnel aggressively trimming trees and clearing brush, so combustible material does not come in contact with the electric lines. We also have all our personnel in the field looking for potential problems from our meter department to our linemen. All our people are trained to look for and report potential trouble spots.”  Reyes also noted, “We have stepped up our trimming crews as the draught has worsened, particularly last summer and this summer. We have recently seen devastating forest fires in neighboring co-op’s service areas. We have the same terrain and conditions, so we think it is more than luck that we have not had the same consequences here.”

 

KCEC has tree trimming crews on staff, as well as contracting for extra assistance when conditions dictate the additional expense. These crews work with the forest service and BLM to identify areas in need of attention withinKCEC right-of-ways, as well as identify potential hazards outside those boundaries and take necessary steps to avoid mishaps when permission is granted. 

 

KCEC Refinancing Package Saves Members $5 million

The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees secured a refinancing package for the current co-op obligations that will save KCEC members approximately $5 million over the life of the loans. The CoBank loans to KCEC total approximately $25.8 million.

 

The Board of Trustees for Kit Carson Electric Co-op are elected by the membership in five districts encompassing the KCEC service territory. They focus their time and energy on ways to bring safe affordable energy to their constituents. The loan refinance was an extensive process requiring persistent communication and evaluation, in order to achieve the best possible terms.  

 

KCEC Board of Trustees Election in Questa May 9, 2013

District II members of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. vote May 9, 2013 for members of the KCEC Board of Trustees. Incumbants Bobby Ortega and Virgil Martinez are being challenged by Martin Martinez, Sr. The top two votegetters will win seats on the board.


May 7, 2013

 

Check presentation at Questa Independent Schools Administration Offices. From left: Questa Mayor Ester Garcia; Sandra Houston-Mastel, Leads to Read Coach, Northwest Regional Education Cooperative #2; Martha Sanchez, Principal, Alta Vista Elementary School; Questa Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Lillian M. Torrez; KCEC Board of Trustees Chairman Bobby Ortega; Louise Padilla from Chevron Mining Corporation and Virgil Martinez, KCEC Board of Trustees.

Chevron Mining Announces iPad Donation to Questa Schools

Chevron Mining, operator of the Questa Molybdenum mine in north central New Mexico, announced the donation of Apple iPads to 280 students and 14 teachers at Alta Vista and Costilla Elementary Schools in the communities of Questa and Costilla, New Mexico. The donation comes from funds received from a Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KCEC) Capital Credits disbursement totaling $123,000.

The Board of Trustees of KCEC voted unanimously at their February 26, 2013 meeting to retire $388,691.18 in Capital Credits for 1980 and 1981. Capital Credits are returned to cooperative members based on their electric usage during specific periods of time. Chevron Mining is the largest electric consumer in the KCEC service territory, so they receive the largest return of Capital Credits funds whenever disbursement is made.

“The donation is an investment in the youth of our rural communities of Questa and Costilla. It came about as a collaboration between KCEC, the Village of Questa, Questa Schools, Questa Library and Chevron Mining Corporation. The timing is excellent since we are currently installing a fiber optic high speed communications network,” according KCEC CEO Luis Reyes. He added, “Kit Carson received a $64 million grant/loan package to connect every home and business in our service territory to fiber optic technology. This donation will assist the students and instructors to take full advantage of this resource.”

 

Tri-State Rate Increase Update

February 13, 2013

In November 2012 Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KCEC), plus Springer Electric and Continental Divide Electric Cooperatives filed a protest against the rate increase and rate redesign proposed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, a cooperative supplying electricity to 12 New Mexico Cooperatives and 44 total in four states. At that time the requested rate increase was 4.9%. In January Tri-State increased the proposed increase to 9%. The three cooperatives have protested a second time, stating the increase is unjust, unreasonable and punitive.

Since 2000 when Tri-State began supplying electricity to KCEC rates have been increased eight times. In each instance KCEC protested. Also in 2000 Tri-State agreed to legislation allowing the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to have oversight over any rate increases providing three cooperatives protested. This latest increase is the first involving three protesters. Tri-State has argued regulation by the PRC is unconstitutional because they are involved in interstate commerce. They have asked for relief through the U.S. Federal Court in Albuquerque.

 

Northern New Mexico Economy Boost From Fiber Optic

Article from the Taos News

Article in the Taos News about the boost to the Taos economy from the Enchanted Light Fiber Optic Project. Click here

 

 

KCEC Volunteers Assist in Distribution of Over 1,200 Food Boxes

Current Taos Feeds Taos president Francis Cordova, a recently retired KCEC Trustee, reported Taos Feeds Taos donated more than 1,200 boxes of food to local residents this year. For 27 years this project has thrived due to the generous volunteers from our community. KCEC has actively supported this effort for many years. That support comes in many forms, including donations from KCEC personnel, assistance with food collection from many of our schools, plus sorting and distributing food. The KCEC Board of Trustees, management and staff are proud to support this worthwhile Taos holiday tradition. According to KCEC CEO Luis Reyes, “The members of the communities served by KCEC have many needs. At the same time, they have a willingness to help their neighbors. The roots run deep here. What has kept those roots growing is demonstrated each year during Taos Feeds Taos. Our Kit Carson Coop family is in a unique position to assist this effort. It is our privilege to be of service to such a worthwhile cause.”  

 
A Good Match
 
 
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative CEO Luis Reyes has been test driving a new Chevy Volt courtesy of Friday Motors in Taos. It seems like the good match as KCEC is a national leader in clean energy production and the Chevy Volt is unique among electric vehicles as it uses two sources of energy, a battery that allows gas-free driving for up to 35 miles and an onboard gas generator that produces electricity for up to 375 miles of driving on a tank of gas.
 
“Kit Carson Coop’s board of trustees has been very progressive in tackling the challenges created by the use of fossil fuels. We continue to expand our solar portfolio in order to diversify our energy sources,” noted Reyes. He continued, “The Chevy Volt embraces that same concept by utilizing two energy resources. I’m very grateful to Debbie Friday-Jagers and Friday Motors for giving me the opportunity to try out this outstanding vehicle.”
 
KCEC, ranked second in the nation in watts per consumer solar usage and fourth in total solar production, recently dedicated a 1.5 megawatt solar array near Amalia, New Mexico in the far northern section of their service area. Reyes drove the Volt to the dedication ceremony and had high praise for its performance. “The Volt handles and performs extremely well, even on the mountain roads leading to Amalia.”
 
Debbie Friday-Jagers, General Sales Manager of Friday Motors, said she hopes the exposure of the Volt will lead to more interest in this very energy conscious community, nicknamed the Solar Capital of the World. “We are thrilled that Chevy has this technology. What better way to introduce it to the community than to have a high profile community leader like Luis Reyes test driving it aqui enTaos.”     
 

 

Solar Power to Light Up North Central New Mexico
 
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Washington Gas Energy Systems, Standard Solar and Elected Officials Dedicate 5,280-Panel, 14-acre Solar Array
 
 
Amalia, NM -- Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) today announced that with the addition of a new 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar array, anticipated to be completed in May 2012, all businesses and residences in north central New Mexico will receive electricity provided by solar power on sunny days. It is the largest area of land with the largest number of power consumers in New Mexico to be supplied with electricity by renewable sources. The 14-acre array will add to power already being generated from the Concentrated Photovoltaic 1 MW array built near Questa, New Mexico.
 
“This project represents a unique collaboration between entities that, while very different, have common goals,” said Luis Reyes, CEO of KCEC. “In addition, this array is helping create local jobs as well as provide energy independence by generating enough electricity to power 376 average New Mexico homes for an entire year.”
 
 The new array, dubbed RCCLA Amalia Solar Array 1, was dedicated during a morning ceremony at the site located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Federal, state and local elected officials, including Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, joined the board of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and visiting dignitaries for the ceremony.
 
“We are pleased to invest in this significant solar project as it supports our mission to own and operate renewable energy assets for the betterment of our environment and advancing our country’s energy independence,” said Sanjiv Mahan, Vice President of Business Development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “We thank the RCCLA and the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative for partnering with us in this effort and look forward to being a part of additional solar projects here in New Mexico.”
 
The project came about through the combined efforts of: the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA), a group of ranchers with a heritage that goes back hundreds of years in this remote region, and who allowed the array to be built on their land; Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, a member-owned corporation supplying electricity to the region since 1944, and is currently ranked second in the nation in solar watts per consumer; Virginia-based Washington Gas Energy Systems who will own and operate the system; and Standard Solar of Rockville, Maryland who installed the system with project management by Paradise Power Company of Taos, NM, and support from Amalia Construction Company.
 
“Today’s dedication event signifies a considerable milestone in bringing renewable energy to northern Taos County,” said Standard Solar President Scott Wiater. “We applaud the collaborative effort of all those involved and look forward to the not too distant future when all KCEC customers will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of solar energy.”
 
 The system is a 1.5 MW-DC single–axis tracking solar system consisting of 5,280 solar panels. At full capacity, it will produce approximately 1.25 MW of AC power, with an expected annual output of more than 2.9 million kilowatt hours. When completed, the solar array will cover more than 15.5 football fields and the carbon offsets will be equivalent to planting 221 acres of forest.

 

Rural Broadband, Emergency Command Day at Kit Carson
 
Electric Co-op hosts $64 million fiber-to-the-home groundbreaking;
Ribbon cutting for Command Center
 
 

Taos, NM (August 17, 2011) – Kit Carson Electric Co-op (KCEC) today formally launched its $64,000,000 broadband fiber-to-the-home project with a ground breaking ceremony that included Senator Jeff Bingaman and Congressman Ben R. Luján as well a host of other dignitaries.

 
At the same time, KCEC’s project to build an emergency command and communications center for the region is now complete and was punctuated by a ribbon cutting. The two projects are also linked since the command center will act as project headquarters for the broadband build-out.
 
“This major investment in broadband technology is exactly the kind of project I had envisioned when I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman said. “This grant is not only creating jobs now in northern New Mexico, it is laying the groundwork to attract new businesses, improve healthcare services and create new education opportunities in the future. I am very glad to be taking part in this momentous occasion.”
 
The $64 million price tag for rural broadband will extend 100 mbps service at very affordable rates to over 20,000 rural residents of Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties. The funds are 70 percent federal stimulus dollars and 30 percent from the Co-op.
 
“We have a history of bringing quality, reliable and affordable services to every part of our expansive service area,” said Chief Executive Officer Luis Reyes, Jr. “Our membership said we should also look for such ways to better serve our diverse communities, and our board of directors has responded by approving this ambitious and badly needed plan.”
 
In addition to electric power, KCEC has successful non-profit businesses in propane, telecom and economic development space.
 
“We are honored to have been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development division to participate in this nationally pioneering initiative,” said KCEC board of trustees chair Bobby Ortega. “Our congressional delegation is also to be commended for supporting this badly needed boost for jobs, education, healthcare and sustainability.”
 
“The opportunities for jobs, education and healthcare in the 21st century are increasingly tied to internet access and bandwidth,” said Senator Tom Udall.  “So this partnership today is critical for the future of northern New Mexico and I want to commend all involved for the vision and drive to make this project a reality.”
 
In addition to economic development, educational, public safety and healthcare applications, the broadband project will also enable ‘smart grid’ and ‘green grid’ applications.
 
 
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