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CEO Column: Factors that Impact Electricity Prices

CEO Column: Factors that Impact Electricity Prices

September 1, 2023

I was recently asked by a Member about what impacts electricity prices. We talked about how the daily cost of living seems to have increased across the board.

Just as inflation has impacted everything from the price of gasoline to the price of eggs, costs for the poles and equipment we use and the fuels required to produce electricity have also risen. This is a timely topic, so I wanted to help explain some of the factors that impact electricity prices and energy bills.

While there is no short answer, there are a few key elements that impact electricity prices and rates. Some of these factors Trico can manage, some of them you can impact, and other factors are beyond our control. So, let me break it down.  

There are three primary parts to your monthly electric bill: a fixed monthly charge, an energy consumption/kWh charge and a Power Cost Adjustment (PCA). To understand your total energy costs and what impacts your bill, lets unpack one piece at a time.        

The first is a fixed monthly charge, which covers the costs associated with providing electricity to your home. This includes equipment, materials, labor and operating costs necessary to serve each meter in Trico’s service territory, regardless of the amount of energy used. In order to ensure the reliable service you expect and deserve, we must maintain the local system, including power lines, substations and other necessary equipment. Like many other businesses, we’ve experienced supply chain issues and steep cost increases for some of our basic equipment. For example, the cost for a distribution transformer (which looks like a long metal can at the top of a power pole) has risen by as much as 400 percent since 2020, and wait times to receive this essential equipment are up to 52 weeks.

Because we are a not-for‑profit cooperative, some of these expenses must be passed on to our Members. I should note that the service charge is the same for everyone in a rate class and the costs are shared equally across the membership.

Another component of your monthly bill is the kWh charge, which covers how much energy you consume. You’ve likely noticed the amount of energy you use can vary from month to month and is typically impacted by extreme temperatures. When temperatures soar or dip, your cooling and heating equipment run longer, which increases your home energy use. Regardless, energy consumption is an area that you have some control over, and you can lower your monthly bill by actively reducing energy use. Your thermostat is a great place to start. Adjusting your thermostat up or down a few degrees can save you money and keep you comfortable.

The last component of your bill is the PCA. The PCA is affected by the cost of power that Trico purchases from our wholesale provider. The PCA covers fuel cost fluctuations without having to continually restructure electricity rates. Trico works hard to identify cost‑effective power sources and makes advance purchases when prices are low. In June, Trico reduced its PCA from 1.5 cents to 0.5 cents to help reduce bills in the summer months.

I hope this information sheds light on some of the factors that impact electricity prices. While we can’t control the weather or the rising costs of fuels, please know Trico is doing everything practical to keep costs down.

We’re here to help you, too. Contact us at 520-744-2944 if you have questions about your energy bill. 


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Washington Youth Tour 2024

Trico Students Enjoy Washington D.C.

September 1, 2023

Each summer, Trico sends high school juniors on a trip to visit Washington D.C., with more than 1,800 students from electric cooperatives across the country.

Students spend the week visiting monuments and memorials, exploring museums, and touring the U.S. Capitol Building. Students also get to meet with staffers and members of Congress to discuss relevant topics that affect them and their local communities. The four students from Trico who participated in the 2023 Washington Youth Tour met with Representative Debbie Lesko, who represents Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

“It was such a fun trip and was packed with activities and tours of museums, the Capitol building, a cathedral, and many other places,” said Lisa Duran, who represented Trico as a chaperone. “It was fun to get to know kids from Arizona throughout the week. We got to trade pins with other states throughout the week and had Youth Day on the last night where all the states had some interesting speakers, followed by dinner and a dance for the kids.”

Rowan Wilson, who will be a senior at Empire High School, said “The trip was great! Our nation’s capital holds an incredible amount of history, and every time you step into one of those buildings, it comes alive. You grow up hearing about these buildings and all the historical events that happened in the capital, but this trip lets you see it and it is breathtaking.”

Anthony Talavera, from Tucson Magnet High School, said “The Washington Youth Tour was great. I had such a fun time! My favorite memories were the Nationals’ baseball game and the International Spy Museum.”

The application for the 2024 Washington Youth Tour is available on Trico’s website. Dependents of Trico Members who are juniors in high school are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is November 1, 2023.

The Washington Youth Tour is supported by the Trico Foundation, a non-profit organization that is funded by Trico Members’ and past Members’ unclaimed or donated Capital Credit retirements. Learn more at


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You have the power to save money and energy in your own home this summer

Summer means hotter temperatures. We expect the energy market in the West to be tight. There may be times when we ask our Members to voluntarily conserve electricity during peak times – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is not meant to be a hardship. Energy conservation can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when you do not need them.

Here are ways you can conserve energy:

  • Take advantage of air circulation from ceiling fans. Circulating the air in a room can make a major difference in comfort while limiting energy use. In the summer, use the switch on your fan to rotate the blades counterclockwise and push cool air down.
  • Run large appliances such as the washer, dryer and dishwasher after 8 p.m. or early in the morning. Running these appliances at cooler hours saves the air conditioning from working as hard. Wash clothes with cold water, which can cut one load’s energy use by more than half.
  • Keep window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat. Consider adding solar screens or window tinting.
  • Improve/replace weather stripping around doors and windows. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a minimum of energy use.
  • Turn off lights and unplug unused appliances, such as coffee makers, game consoles, cellphone chargers and TVs – which still draw some power while turned off or in standby mode.
  • The less water you use, the less energy you use. Check your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing, your toilet has a leak. Also, fix leaky showerheads and faucets. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. Faucet and shower aerators are inexpensive devices that reduce the amount of water flow.
  • Replace old appliances with new energy efficient appliances. If your refrigerator or dishwasher is more than 10 years old, the money you can save on energy use for a new appliance could pay for itself in just a few years.

With just a few small changes, you can relax in comfort this summer while saving money. For more energy saving tips, visit

Preparing for Summer & Monsoons

Providing year-round reliable power to our Members is a top priority for Trico, and we are constantly working to improve and serve you better. One way that we strive to improve is by devoting a lot of time to planning and preparing for the things we can expect and the unexpected.

In Southern Arizona it is a safe bet that summer will be hot, and we work hard to plan and prepare for summer power needs years in advance. Monsoons are more difficult to predict. We know they will come, but we don’t know where the strongest winds, heaviest rain, or most intense lightning will strike. With summer storm season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few measures we are taking to ensure you continue receiving the reliable power you depend on.

Every year Trico’s employees work together to plan for summer storms and that includes a meeting that brings together every department to confirm everyone knows their role. We discuss how we will respond to storm damage, how we will communicate with Members, what materials and supplies we will need for the summer, and how to keep our employees and Members safe. Every year we try to learn from the prior year and get better.

The result is, Trico is ready for storm season. If we experience any power outages or damage to the system, our crews will be ready to make repairs as soon as conditions are safe, our warehouse will be ready to provide the materials needed, and our communications team will be ready to get the latest news out to Members.

Even with the challenge of continued supply chain shortages, Trico has a stock of poles, transformers, and other equipment, and we have coordinated with suppliers in case we need additional materials. We may not know exactly where Monsoons will hit, but we track detailed weather forecasts, and use the information we do have to be prepared.

We also encourage our Members to be prepared for summer storms, with information on social media, our website, the LiveWire, and at community meetings. Here are a few storm safety tips to help you prepare:

  • If you experience a power outage, remember to check our outage map at
  • for the latest updates.
  • High winds may bring power lines down. If you encounter downed lines while driving, turn around. Lines may still be energized. Never drive near or over them.
  • Heavy storms and rainfall have the potential to create flash floods. If you encounter standing water while driving, turn around and find a safer route.
  • Make sure your cellphone, devices, and portable power banks are charged and ready to go.

Stay informed by following us on social media at, and

Green Valley Substation Rebuild

It took a team effort to rebuild the Green Valley Substation

Built in 1973, the Green Valley Substation (Green Valley Sub) needed an upgrade. So, in May 2022, Trico hired the firm TOR Engineering to come up with a plan for the rebuilding of the Green Valley Sub.

“Given the age of the substation, its limitations and the fact that we just finished rebuilding the 69 kV transmission line from the Bicknell Substation to Green Valley, it made sense to rebuild it,” said Roger Patnode, the Project Lead.

A decision was made to rebuild the whole substation.

“Starting with the Three Points Substation, we came up with a standard way of designing the 25 kV side of the substations,” Patnode said. “We’re using the same design for the new Adonis Substation and when we rebuild the Marana Substation.”

Like the SaddleBrooke Substation, Trico controls the 69 kV transmission line into the Green Valley Sub. At our other substations, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Association (AEPCO) handles the 69 kV transmission line.

“At Green Valley, we designed the 69 kV side with a ring bus,” he said. “It provides us with more flexibility for expansion in the future.”

A ring bus configuration is an extension of the sectionalized bus arrangement and is accomplished by interconnecting the two open ends of the buses through another sectionalizing breaker. This results in a closed loop or ring with each bus section protected by a circuit breaker.

The rebuild was done in two phases. In July 2022, Trico started rebuilding the 25 kV side of the substation, south of the existing substation. The Green Valley Sub remained energized during this phase. In November 2022, the old substation was deenergized and demolished and the new 69 kV side was built during this phase.

“We picked up the Green Valley Sub circuits from Bicknell,” Patnode said. “We were able do it because loads are low in the winter.”

The Green Valley Sub was reenergized by May 2, 2023, just in time for summer. Patnode said a lot of work from different departments went into the rebuilding of the Green Valley Sub.

“It was a joint effort,” he said. “It starts with engineering. Then procurement – acquiring the needed equipment and materials. Operations and the Substation and Meter Technicians were also involved in the project. Kudos to everybody who worked on the project.”

Patnode said the two new 20 MVA transformers should last at least 30 years.

“The original transformer was 50 years old and still working when it was retired,” he said.

Batteries are now operational at Avion Solar

The Avion Solar Facility has been providing Trico with clean energy since 2018, and now we have added battery energy storage to the system.

On May 9, 2023, Trico held a ribbon‑cutting ceremony at Avion, attended by representatives from the Town of Marana, the Marana Chamber of Commerce, Torch Clean Energy and Solv Energy. The Town of Marana Mayor Ed Honea, Sarah Born from Torch and Trico CEO & GM Brian Heithoff gave speeches about the battery energy storage system and what it means to Trico’s Members and the Town of Marana.

“It’s an honor to be here and see how innovative Trico is with what they do in the community,” Mayor Honea said. “The batteries are really important because they provide service for us in times of emergency.”

The annual energy output of the Avion solar system is over 30,000 MWh per year, which is enough to power approximately 3,000 average residential homes. The 15 MW/30 MWh battery system matches the Chirreon Solar and Battery Storage Facility. The batteries can power about 4,000 homes for two hours.

“This will not only help us to provide some resilience but more importantly help us to save money when we discharge the battery over the most expensive part of the day so just another way Trico is looking out for its Members’ best interest,” Eric Hawkins said.

“The cornerstone of our plan is to have a balanced portfolio, so we intend to invest more in battery and solar while continuing to work with our partners to invest in new efficient natural gas technology,” Mr. Heithoff said. “The whole portfolio we put together is working together to ensure that we provide reliable service to our Members.

“(Avion) is tied for the largest battery installation of any cooperative in Arizona, and we are tied with ourselves for the Chirreon and Avion Solar sites. We are proud of that.”

Avion Solar & Battery Facts

Here are some facts about the project:

Solar Commissioned: December 14, 2018

System: 10 MW Single-axis tracking

Number of panels: 40,716 solar photovoltaic modules

Annual energy output: Over 30,000 MWh annually, which is enough to power approximately 3,000 average residential homes.

Battery System: 15 MW/30 MWh. The batteries can power about 4,000 homes for two hours.

Renewable Energy: About 33 percent of Trico’s retail sales come from renewable resources.

Cross-country journey in Ford Lightning electric truck was great learning experience for Trico

By Rylee Schull

In March 2023, Trico employees Sabrina and Bryan English, an IT Specialist and a Journeyman Lineman respectively, embarked on a 3,852-mile round trip from Trico to Nashville, Tennessee, and back in a Ford Lightning F-150 all-electric truck.

Sabrina and Bryan went to Nashville for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) PowerXchange and TechAdvantage conferences. They made stops at electric cooperatives along the way, including Columbus Electric Co-op in New Mexico. On the way back, they stopped at First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville, Arkansas. "They were so welcoming, and we appreciated them letting us charge the Lightning," Sabrina said.

While at a charger, they met an employee from Craighead Electric Cooperative in Arkansas who was also heading to the PowerXchange conference and driving a Ford Lightning. It’s always a happy coincidence to meet with our co-op family.

"After this experience, we both agreed we would travel with an electric vehicle again like this," Sabrina said. "Charging times allowed us to take breaks, get our steps in, shop, and most importantly save money and the environment by not buying gas and reducing our carbon footprint. Chargers were easily accessible and available at frequent stops across our route. We only had one issue with a charger, but after calling Electrify America (an EV public charging network across the U.S.) they were able to fix the problem quickly and get us on our way."

The journey took a total of 78 hours, including stops and charging time, which was faster than expected due to the efficiency of the

350 kW chargers. Despite the freezing temperatures impacting range, with 221 miles at 90% charge compared to 273 miles, the average charge times were only 35 minutes. The total charging cost of $385 was roughly a third of what they would have paid for gas. Overall, the trip was a success and highlighted the potential for all-electric trucks to handle long-distance travel.

Trico is proud to continue meeting the needs of our Members, including learning more about EVs and providing upcoming rates/options for our Members with EVs.

To look back at Sabrina and Bryan’s journey, visit Trico’s Facebook page at or Instagram at

Answers to your questions

Our Members had questions about the trip. Here are the answers to those questions.

Where do you find charging stations?

There are a few ways to find charging stations, but here are the top two options Sabrina and Bryan used:

1) Electrify America is a great option that you can use to map out your entire route. It will show you where all their chargers are located, and typically they have quick chargers available!

2) Many EVs have built in navigation that can help route you to chargers to make sure you won’t run out of power before getting to the next station.

Does the weather affect the mileage?

The freezing temperatures did impact range, with 221 miles at 90% charge compared to 273 miles.

Outside temperatures, particularly colder weather, can impact the range of an EV. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, where the heat is mostly coming from the engine, an EV must produce cabin heat and manage an optimal battery temperature with energy that comes from the battery, which can reduce battery range.

Are electric vehicles reliable for road trips?

You can make a long road trip without fear of getting stranded, as long as you plan ahead. That means juggling route-planning apps and billing accounts with various charging companies, which can get confusing. And be prepared for the unexpected, like glitchy charging equipment touchscreens, billing questions and inoperable plugs.

How far can you travel in an electric vehicle?

Many of today's EVs have a range well over 100 miles per charge, with some models reaching more than 300 miles per charge.

CEO Column: We can work together to conserve energy, maintain a reliable grid

Summer is coming, and with summer comes high temperatures and high usage of electricity. As we prepare for the hottest days of the year, it is a good time to think about energy conservation. At Trico we are dedicated to providing our Members with cost-effective and sustainable energy, and a big part of sustainability is reliability. When we talk to our Members and review Member surveys, the message is clear: reliability is important. We take that to heart and know it is our responsibility to provide power when and where our Members need it.

You have probably seen articles and news stories about the tight energy market in the West and throughout the country. In its annual nationwide summer reliability assessment, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) found that “two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of extreme demand.” This includes the West.

Trico spends significant time planning for and securing resources to ensure reliability, but the risks described by NERC are regional issues that affect electric utilities across the country. Trico’s mix of resources includes solar, battery, coal, natural gas, and hydro power. This diversity of resources helps to control costs and ensure reliability. Still, on the hottest days, when there are regional weather events affecting several states, power supplies can be strained.

One way we can all help is through energy conservation. We work to achieve that goal in many ways and that includes providing our Members with guidance and tips on how to reduce energy use.

Conservation efforts have multiple benefits, including helping to reduce your bill and reducing stress on the power grid. Relatively small actions can make a significant difference, and understanding how the system works provides you with the tools to conserve. To help reduce your bill and conserve energy, you can take the following actions:

  • Defer use of pool pumps, washers, dryers or dishwashers until after 8 p.m.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Unplug unused electrical devices
  • Close blinds and drapes during the hot part of the day
  • Use fans to supplement your air conditioning
  • Limit time the refrigerator door is open

You may wonder why waiting to run major appliances helps. Typically, the most critical time to conserve energy each day is between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. During that period, energy usage increases as people return home from work, and the output of solar resources tapers off. That means that the stress on the grid is highest at that time.

To be clear, our intent is to provide convenient, simple actions you can take. You don’t have to wait to make dinner or avoid using your air conditioning to make a difference. We want you to enjoy your summer, and taking these actions can help you save on your bill while also helping the grid and your community.

For more tips on saving energy, please follow Trico’s social media, future editions of the Livewire, and our website.

Shop Local with Co-op Connections

Shop Local and Save with Co-op Connections

April 25, 2023

May is Small Business Month, a time to honor our community’s small businesses and entrepreneurs who play a crucial role in strengthening the economy.

The Co-op Connections Card program was started in 2009 as a way to help local businesses while also saving our Members money. In 2022, Trico Members saved more than $1,500.

Co-op Connections is a free benefit for being a Member of Trico. By showing your Co‑op Card or the Co-op Connections app at participating retailers, you can save money on items you purchase every day.

Co‑op Connections has the best deals all in one place. Check for participating businesses in your area by visiting the Co-op Connections website here.

Take the savings with you wherever you go. Simply download the free Co-op Connections app to your phone and create an account to access thousands of deals. See the box above for all the ways to save with Co-op Connections.

Today, with competition increasing rapidly in the business ecosystem, small business owners are struggling to keep up with the big businesses for survival.

So, let’s support small businesses and strengthen the economy!


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Go Electric with Trico

Go Electric with Trico and Save Money!

April 27, 2023

Electricity is becoming cleaner every day and Members can save money on their energy costs over time.

Trico provides our Members with the latest information on purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). From tax incentives and benefits to a savings calculator, our EV website provides details on different EV models and what type of EV may be best for you. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved Trico’s Experimental Electric Vehicle Tariff and that tariff will be available soon. Members who charge their EVs between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will pay a discounted rate.

To learn more about electric vehicles, visit our website here. You can also call us at (520) 744‑2944 to speak with one of our Sustainable Energy experts.

Additional Resources:

  1. View fuel economy and energy saving EV tips here.
  2. Learn how EV drivers save almost $800 per year here.
  3. See your top questions answered in this EV 101 guide.


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CEO Column: Cost-Effective, Sustainable Power

A balanced approach to cost-effective, sustainable power

April 26, 2023

Have you ever considered how handy it is to flip a switch or push a button and have instant conveniences?

It seems so simple; you get a little cold or hot, you bump your thermostat up or down; your family gets hungry, you grab food from your refrigerator and heat it up in the microwave or cook a meal on your stove; stressful day at work, you jump into a hot tub of water.

Electricity is one of those reliable and instant conveniences. More than that, it is necessary to support our daily lives and plays a vital role in powering our future (think electric vehicles, heat pumps, and smart home devices).

Trico takes our responsibility to deliver cost-effective and sustainable power to our Members very seriously. I’d like to use this month’s column to make the point that to accomplish cost-effective AND sustainable, it requires a balanced portfolio of renewable and non-renewable sources, at least for the near and medium term.

As many of you know, there are various methods of electricity generation.

Dispatchable resources include coal and natural gas, which are used to generate electricity by combustion (thermal power). Nuclear power can also be generated through nuclear fission using uranium, the heat of which raises the temperature of water and rotates a steam turbine.

Among renewable energies, sunlight is directly converted into electricity (photovoltaics), rotation energy by wind is converted into electricity (wind power), and rotating water wheels are turned by running water to generate (hydro).

Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses, and currently there is no single source of power that can solve Trico’s mission to be cost-effective AND sustainable all on its own. A quick review of the weaknesses of each technology shows that a diverse mix of resources is vital.

  • Nuclear – Expensive, and hard to finance or site.
  • Coal – Emits carbon and is difficult to adjust to changing load requirements.
  • Wind and Solar – Intermittent, because the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine all hours of the day. Coupling these resources with battery storage helps, but given current technology 24/7 coverage with batteries is not cost effective or practical.
  • Hydro – Subject to water availability and impactful on the environment.
  • Natural Gas – Cost is subject to natural gas markets which can be volatile and emits carbon (although substantially less than coal).

So, what do we do?

It is Trico’s goal to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2032. This will result in increased sustainability at a reasonable cost. We have committed to this goal because it serves our mission, not because of any regulatory requirement. We don’t dispute the importance of transitioning our generation mix over time, and our resource planning shows it can be done in a cost-effective manner. It may be counter-intuitive, but we are also including natural gas generation in our plans. Natural gas generation can ramp up at any time of the day to meet Members’ swings in power usage and to adjust to changing weather. This is necessary to help us meet your power requirements 24/7, 365.

Could we reduce our carbon emissions faster? It may be possible but is not practical. With current technology, the result would be increased costs and/or hours during the year in which power may not be available, and because of supply chain issues related to renewable generation equipment the facilities required might not even be able to be built by the time needed.

Which leads to the point of this column, in order to accomplish sustainability AND cost effectiveness, it requires a mix of multiple generation resources. That has been our strategy in the past and is our strategy moving forward, all to meet our Members’ evolving energy needs. We know you depend on us and it is our privilege to serve our Members and our community.


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Thank You 2023 Annual Meeting Attendees

Thank you for attending our 2023 Annual Meeting

April 27, 2023

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Trico Annual Meeting on April 1 at Casino del Sol Resort. With 634 attendees, it was a great meeting where we shared with our Members the vision and future of Trico. Food, raffle prizes and fun were enjoyed by all!

“We attended the meeting, and it was good. We felt you did a good job with all your information. Thank you for making the meeting enjoyable with food and prizes too!” Narda McClain commented on Facebook.

The Annual Meeting provides Members with the opportunity to get to know their cooperative. This year, Members heard from Trico’s Board of Directors and Staff on the strong financial condition of Trico, and Trico’s vision for serving its Members in 2023 and beyond.

At the meeting, Director Darrell Birkhimer of District 3 (Picture Rocks, Avra Valley, Star Valley), and Director Larry Hinchliffe of District 6 (Vail, Corona de Tucson), were reelected to the Board.

Congratulations to Donald Roberson of SaddleBrooke, who won the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado truck. Other prizes included Trico bill credits, an iPad, virtual reality goggles, a RoboVac, Beats headphones, Nintendo Switch and two 42-inch TVs.

We hope to see you at next year’s annual meeting.


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