COO Message — January 2022

Working Together for a Better Future

Theresa QuirozOut with the old year, and in with the new! I want to thank Co-op members for your role in helping keep the community healthy and vibrant over the past year. We should all feel very proud that we were able to keep all Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC) offices open and operational throughout the year. Together, we recognized that while COVID-19 continues to affect our lives, we can work together to safely create and maintain an active and engaging environment; and because we’ve done so well the past 12 months, it’s looking like Santa may have delivered a better 2022. Fingers crossed!

Without dwelling too much on the events of 2021, let’s just say there were “challenges” to overcome. Many of these can be put behind us, but some have lasting effects that will carry over into this year. I know we are all tired of hearing about Winter Storm Uri, but this is one of the challenges to which I was referring. You may not be aware of it, but the Board of Directors decided to “under-recover” over $800,000 in expenses related to the winter storm. This means they decided the Co-op would absorb the loss, instead of passing on the expense to members. There were other expenses, though, in addition to this, that will need to be recovered at some point. We are not planning a rate increase at present, but you will probably see a nominal uptick in the Power Cost Adjustment portion of your bill in the coming months. When you do, I encourage you to remember that you were spared the $9,000 monthly electric bills many consumers of other utility companies received on the heels of the winter storm.

Today’s energy landscape is an increasingly complex design, covering not only the traditional engineering and vegetation management aspects of the industry, but also encompasses technology, cybersecurity, the electrification of the transportation sector, and more. Sustainable solutions are at the crux of Rio Grande’s focus this year—from new ways of engaging members to serve in an advisory capacity and participate in the management of the Cooperative, to initiating system-wide improvement projects, including advanced technology and renewable energy projects delivered right to your back door. Naturally, with increased complexity, resources, and time become factors in achieving operational success. Rio Grande Electric’s board and staff remain committed to providing you safe and reliable energy services.

As you read the pages that follow, you’ll see a brief overview of a few of the things we have on our radar this year. Some exciting changes lie ahead, but the one element that never changes is our desire for your participation. You will receive the RGEC Member Involvement Survey this month, and I encourage you to consider serving in some capacity. RGEC needs your input, wisdom, and guidance to help keep the Cooperative strong and moving in the right direction.

We’re proud to power your life and bring good things to the communities we serve. Together, we work to improve the quality of life for all. May God bless you abundantly in this New Year!

Theresa Quiroz