S&P Global Ratings issues new ratings for Tri-State
- S&P Global Ratings lowers long- and short-term credit rating for Tri-State.
- Tri-State’s ratings remain at investment grade.
- Membership’s Contract Committee continues to evaluate options for increased member flexibility.
- Agency sites uncertainty with Colorado PUC filing by two member distribution cooperatives.
(November 19, 2019 – Westminster, Colo.) S&P Global Ratings has changed Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s long-term rating to A- from A, and lowered the association’s short-term rating to A2 from A1. In addition, the agency has assigned a negative outlook for the association.
Tri-State’s ratings remain classified as investment grade, and Tri-State maintains its strong financial position. In addition, Tri-State has been and continues to address many of the items raised by S&P Global Ratings in its analysis.
“Tri-State continues to address the items raised in the S&P report. Our membership remains unified in our direction and Tri-State maintains a strong financial position, with investment-grade ratings,” said Duane Highley, CEO for Tri-State.
Highley noted that Tri-State’s member cooperatives and public power districts are continuing efforts to provide members with more contract flexibility for power supply. The Contract Committee of Tri-State’s membership continued this week to review options for partial requirements contracts that would provide members with additional flexibility for power supply, including more locally developed renewable energy. A recommendation is expected to be made to the board of directors for consideration in early 2020.
In addition, Tri-State noted that on Thursday, the cooperatives board of directors approved a new community solar program for its membership. Tri-State’s total commitment to the program, if acted upon by all members, would be 63 megawatts of additional community solar projects. Notably, solar generation under the program will not be included in the 5% self-supply provisions agreed to by members in their wholesale power contracts with Tri-State (see news release).
The efforts to provide more renewable options to members is a part of a larger, transformative effort by Tri-State, known as the Responsible Energy Plan. Tri-State is transitioning to a cleaner energy portfolio, which includes additional renewables, lower emissions and compliance with all environmental requirements with a goal of lower wholesale electric rates.
“The vast majority of our membership supports and is satisfied with the direction that Tri-State is taking to increase contract flexibility and have a cleaner power supply,” said Rick Gordon, Tri-State chairman of the board. “Our members are working together to ensure Tri-State can meet their needs now and in the future.”
S&P Global Ratings indicated that its changes primarily reflect concern about two recent filings before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by two members of Tri-State.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit association of 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million rural electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the west. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit tristate.coop.
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