The San Miguel Power Association held its 84th Annual Meeting of Members, with both online and in-person attendees. The meeting was called to order by Dave Alexander, Vice President of the San Miguel Power Board. The CEO, Brad Zaporski, gave a report on the major advancements made by San Miguel Power in 2022, including fire mitigation efforts and the installation of high-definition cameras with artificial intelligence for early detection of fires. The collaboration with the Fire Protection district was highlighted as a valuable relationship in the event of natural disasters.
Another strategic objective discussed was community resiliency and system hardening, which involved the construction of a microgrid in collaboration with San Miguel County. The project received a $1.1 million grant and included beneficial electrification, renewable energy, and resiliency rebates. San Miguel Power also received planning grants to explore microgrid systems and community solar arrays in other locations.
Zaporski addressed future expenses, mentioning changes at their power supplier, Tri-state, which is now regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This regulation may result in the direct assignment of radial transmission costs, potentially increasing expenses for San Miguel Power. Tri-state announced a 6.6% increase in wholesale power bills starting in 2024, which may require retail rate adjustments. The company's long-term financial planning helped mitigate cost increases in the past, with electric rates rising one-fifth the rate of inflation over the past four years.
The importance of intelligent timing in power usage was emphasized to cut costs and carbon emissions. Net metering, the solar energy program, was discussed, noting the issue of power produced at off-peak times having lower value. Discussions with net metering accounts, solar installers, and other stakeholders are ongoing to find equitable solutions. The billing statement now includes information on peak and off-peak energy usage to educate members on the value of timing.
Doylene Garvey, the Board Secretary and Treasurer, provided a recap of the previous year's meeting and reported on the cooperative's financial position. Revenues in 2022 reached nearly $31 million, with the majority coming from residential members. Power and transmission expenses accounted for the largest cost. Financial ratios were met or exceeded, and member equity grew by over $46 million. The Treasurer's report demonstrated sound financial health and strategic optimization.
The Board President’s Report acknowledged the importance of member opinions and engagement. They discussed changes to the idle services policy and sought member input to ensure fairness and equity. The cooperative aimed to address the region's affordable housing needs by supporting the nonprofit developer, Rural Homes for Sale, for Locals.
The meeting also focused on another potential solution to the issue of timing in electricity use. Vehicle-to-grid integration or “V2G.” is a technology that enables electric vehicles to not only consume electricity from the grid, but also to return excess electricity to the grid during times of peak demand. Guest speaker, Diego Lopez, executive director of the Save Energy Coalition covered this topic, providing context and resources for members interested in investigating electric vehicles or V2G on their own.
Overall, the meeting covered updates on fire mitigation, community resiliency, future expenses, intelligent power usage, and financial health. The cooperative emphasized collaboration, member engagement, and their commitment to affordability and sustainability.