Author: Monica Pugno

Join us April 9, 2022 at Casino del Sol for Trico Annual Meeting

It’s been two years since we’ve held an in-person Annual Meeting and we miss seeing our Members. Trico is gearing up for the 2022 Annual Meeting, which will be held April 9, 2022 at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Rd.

The Trico Board and staff look forward to meeting with our Members in person. The Annual Meeting is a special time for co-op members to gather, share experiences, hear from co-op leadership and vote to elect new Board Members.

Trico employees work hard to host this fun event, and we encourage you to attend and exercise the many rights you have as a member of an electric cooperative. We know good food and great prizes are some of the best parts of the meeting, but there is so much more to the event.

This is an opportunity to learn more about the topics that impact you and talk about what we as a community can do to address our most pressing challenges and take advantage of available opportunities.

Your annual meeting is also the occasion to exercise one of the greatest benefits of being an electric co-op member: voting for the upcoming year’s Board of Directors.

At the 2022 Annual Meeting, not only will you have fun (and maybe win a prize!), but you will feel good knowing that you had a voice in a very important decision that impacts one of our most vital resources, electricity.

From all your friends at Trico, we hope to see you on April 9, 2022 at the Annual Meeting.

For Members unable to attend the meeting, online voting will be available on Trico’s website from February 14, 2022 through April 6, 2022 at 10 a.m. Members can also request a mail-in ballot from our website.

Trico 2022 Annual Meeting
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Casino del Sol Resort
5655 W. Valencia Rd.

  • Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.
  • 8:30–10 a.m. Informational Booths and Workshops
  • Meeting starts at 10 a.m.
  • Please bring a copy of your bill for fast check in
  • Win raffle prizes (must be present to win)
  • Trees will be available for purchase

Trico scholarship student has a passion for science

There are not many young women who spend their Saturdays out in the field or in the lab conducting research. Nadira Mitchell, a Trico Foundation scholarship recipient, has hiked into Sabino Canyon to collect data from wildlife cameras for her research project on human and animal interactions.

Nadira graduated with honors from Tucson High Magnet School in 2019. She is a junior at the University of Arizona majoring in Natural Resources/Wildlife Conservation with a goal of becoming a Wildlife Conservationist. She is also minoring in American Indian Studies.

Nadira said the Trico scholarship has allowed her to focus on school and research. “It has allowed me to have more time to do extracurricular activities and not worry about being in debt when I graduate,” she said.

One of those extracurricular activities is serving on the board of the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF).

“Science is my passion and I have participated in research programs to gain skills in developing posters and presenting,” Nadira said. “Such opportunities helped guide me to be a better leader, advocate, and scientist because it is important to give back to the community and make the world better for future generations.”

She was surprised when SARSEF asked her to be on the board.

“They wanted someone with youthful experience,” she said. “Since I was part of SARSEF and benefited from SARSEF, it made sense. It’s taught me a lot about how non‑profits work. I care about SARSEF because it gave me so many opportunities and I want to see it grow and continue to benefit students.”

While in high school, Nadira spent four years educating guests of the Arizona‑Sonora Desert Museum about the native flora and fauna as a Junior Docent.

“As a Navajo, my passion for wildlife began as a toddler,” she said. “I was always fascinated by nature and being in the outdoors. During the monsoon season, I would go and spend time out in my front yard collecting snails. I have never been afraid of spiders or snakes like other kids because I knew as long as I respected them, they would not harm me.”

Her research and volunteer experiences influenced her decision to study Natural Resources/Wildlife Conservation at the U of A.

“I strive to learn about the scientific aspects of wildlife conservation, continue my research on wildlife habitats, become a better advocate for endangered species, and eventually manage a wildlife refuge in native communities,” she said.

Nadira is one of four students selected for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the U of A. It’s a two-year program that gives students an opportunity to conduct their own research project focused on conservation. Nadira is researching how animals, specifically Javelina, navigate urban environments with differing levels of trash to inform land-use decisions and minimize human-wildlife conflict.

Nadira uses wildlife cameras and trash surveys to determine if trash levels decrease or increase the species richness and diversity of wildlife use of washes and residential areas.

“The consumption of human food and the packaging of waste can have adverse health effects on wildlife leading to death and a disruption in the natural food chain,” she said.

During her freshman year at the U of A, Nadira helped start the American Indian Student Initiatives, a club that focuses on environmental justice in Native American communities. Over spring break, the club partnered with the non-profit GRID Alternatives to build a solar panel system for a Navajo family.

“It was a cool opportunity to learn how solar works and how to build a solar panel system,” she said.

When the pandemic hit, the club had to get creative with their projects and outreach.

“We did four to five virtual seminars,” she said. “It gave people an opportunity to hear about issues such as the border barrier and how it is affecting the Tohono Oʼodham Nation.”

The club did a donation drive for the Baboquivari School District. They applied for grants and raised $3,100 to pay for temperature readings and hygiene supplies. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” she said.

Nadira is one of 83 students receiving a scholarship from the Trico Foundation. Scholarships are funded by Trico Members’ and past Members’ unclaimed or donated Capital Credit retirements. Click here to donate your Capital Credits.

Trico is accepting scholarship applications

Each year, the Trico Foundation awards scholarships to Trico Members and their families to attend a university, community or vocational college. Trico is accepting applications for the 2022-23 academic year. Students can apply online here. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2022.

Trico values your opinion

Scores are an important part of our lives. We watch sporting events and the primary measurement of success is the final score. Stockbrokers and financial advisors are evaluated on the rate of return for various risk levels of their clients, and our children are graded each quarter.

We belong to a co-op that cares a great deal about how our work to provide exceptional value is judged by those we serve.

To that aim, the 82 out of a possible 100 points given by cooperative member-owners in a recent American Customer Service Index (ACSI) showed there is always room for improvement, but also that Members value the service they receive from Trico.

This member assessment places Trico almost 10 points higher than the average electric provider in the United States. Our score is also higher than well-known companies such as Amazon, Nordstrom, Costco, Disney, Netflix and Starbucks.

Our score confirms Trico’s overall value and quality to our Members and we look forward to continuing to improve how we serve. Towards that end, we are always interested in hearing feedback on ways to improve, so please feel free to call, text or email suggestions you may have. We aim to please.

Trico employees collect items for Casa de los Niños

Trico Electric Cooperative is dedicated to enhancing the lives of our Members and the communities we serve. During the holidays, employees collected items for Casa de los Niños to help teens in need. Employees also raised more than $1,200 in cash and gift cards.

“We are overwhelmed with Trico’s wonderful support this holiday season,” said Kimberly Gutierrez, Development & Public Relations Coordinator.

Casa de los Niños partners with families so every child can be raised in a healthy home. Their programs serve over 5,000 kids and over 4,000 families.

Pamela Boyer, Executive Director of the 3000 Club/Market on the Move, Roberta Lopez-Suter, Marketing and Communications Director at Trico Electric Cooperative, and Karen Borth, Secretary at the Legion and organizer of the event.

In November, Trico donated $1,000 to the Casas Adobes American Legion Auxiliary Unit #73 to help homeless veterans and their families. With the money, the Casas Adobes American Legion prepared 100 boxes of food for people in need. Each box contained fresh fruit and vegetables, coffee, hand sanitizer, and dinner rolls and cranberries for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We are so over the moon with your generosity. Trico is wonderful!” said Karen Borth, Secretary at the Legion and organizer of the event.

Trico also sponsored Amado’s Chili Cook‑Off, which raises funds for the Amado Youth Center.

Trico employees give the gift of their time

Trico employees volunteered to clean up the Boy Scouts’ Camp on Mt. Lemmon.

Because we are a co-op, volunteerism and giving back are a part of who we are. Trico offers employees flexibility in their schedules to accommodate these volunteer opportunities. We look at co-op volunteerism as an investment in our community by enabling our employees to donate their time and expertise to help groups that are doing so much for our community.

On October 22, Trico employees volunteered to clean up the Boy Scouts’ Camp on Mt. Lemmon during United Way Days of Caring. The project included hauling/moving rocks, dirt and concrete blocks.

Also in October, Trico employees collected 467 pairs of socks to donate to Youth On Their Own. “Thank you for your participation in our 4th Annual Socktober Challenge,” Volunteer Manager Kristin Ohman said. “Your generous donation will certainly keep our students’ feet warm and cozy. We couldn’t do this without you!”

Trico Electric Cooperative Distribution Designer David Worrell shows off socks donated by employees for Youth On Their Own.

Capital Credits: One of the many benefits of being a cooperative member

Think about it: given the dozens of product and service companies with whom you regularly transact business, how many ever send you a check or refund? If you are like most, you can probably count them on a couple of fingers.

So, getting money back is one more reason to feel proud of being a Trico Member. In fact, our Members have received a refund for the last 11 years.

This year the Board of Directors approved the retirement of $3.8 million in Capital Credits. This return comes thanks to the strong financial condition of your cooperative.

If you are new to the cooperative, you may wonder: why do I receive a check or bill credit at all? It’s the result of the unique financing structure of cooperatives, built in part around the idea of rotation of equity. Members pay in and allow the cooperative to use their capital for a period of time to finance operations. In time, when revenues exceed expenses, they receive a portion of those funds back via Capital Credit refunds.

This month, we will retire Capital Credits totaling $3.8 million, consisting of $3.5 million from Trico and $300,000 from the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative. Look on your December bill for your Capital Credit Refund. Active accounts will see a Capital Credit Refund posted as a credit on your bill. Inactive accounts will receive a check for a refund over $10. If you move or no longer have service, Trico must have your current address to send your capital credit notices and refunds in the future.

We work hard to provide service in a cost-effective manner so we can refund Capital Credits to our Members. They represent your equity in the Cooperative and reflect the fact that you’re an owner of Trico. Since 2010, Trico has returned more than $28 MILLION to its Members. That’s money that stays right in our local communities.

It’s just one more way Trico delivers value to you. In turn, we hope your cooperative brought you a little extra holiday cheer (perhaps for gifting another) in the process.

Click here to learn more about Capital Credits. If you have additional questions, please call (520) 744-2944, ext. 1510. Or email: capitalcredits@trico.coop.

As always, thank you for your business.

Together, we have the power to make a difference

At Trico, we are dedicated to enhancing the lives of our Members and the communities we serve. One way that Trico is making a difference in the community is through our POWER Grant program.

In 2021, the Trico Electric Charitable Trust awarded $70,000 in grants to non-profit organizations providing critical services in southern Arizona. Since 2008, Trico’s POWER Grant program has provided $630,000 in funding to local non-profit organizations in our community.

With help from our lender CoBank, Trico was able to help our community even more. As part of its Sharing Success program, CoBank matched Trico’s POWER Grant donations to the Autism Society of Southern Arizona (ASSA) and Make Way for Books. Each organization received $5,000 from CoBank.

“Your generosity and commitment to community is commendable and CoBank is delighted to join you in support of this worthy cause,” said Sherry Johnson, Sharing Success Program Administrator.

Last fall, both organizations received a $5,000 POWER Grant from the Trico Electric Charitable Trust. ASSA used the money to provide online virtual educational programming and support for children and parents affected by autism.

“It’s amazing what Trico has done for us this year,” Executive Officer Brie Seward said. “Your grant has helped our families thrive through such turbulent times and it’s helped our organization keep going. A matching opportunity is like a gift from above. We can push ahead and keep these programs going for these families who are still so isolated and need us. We are beyond grateful.”

Since January, Make Way for Books has provided more than 1,700 books to children and 1,900 books to preschools.

“Make Way for Books is so grateful for the support from Trico,” said Monica Farmer, Impact Director. “This support enables The Story Project South to continue to provide proven early literacy programming, books, and resources to young children (ages birth to 5) to ensure they discover the joy of books and begin school with the skills they need to become thriving learners and readers.”

CoBank is a cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. Since Sharing Success was established in 2012, CoBank and its customers have together contributed tens of millions of dollars to groups such as volunteer fire departments, local schools and hunger relief programs.

How you can help

Trico’s POWER Grant Program is funded through Operation Round Up. For less than $1 per month, you can help Trico make a difference in our community. For example, let’s say your electric bill is $82.73. If you participate in Operation Round Up, your bill will be automatically rounded up to $83, with the extra 27 cents going to the Trico Electric Charitable Trust. The most you will donate is about $12 a year, and your donations are tax deductible.

All donations from Operation Round Up are given to the Trico Electric Charitable Trust, a non-profit organization that determines which Trico Members, schools and organizations receive financial assistance.

Operation Round Up is an easy way to give back to your community because all donations stay local. Through your generosity, we’ve donated over $900,000 since 1996.

Sign up for Operation Round Up by December 20, 2021 for a chance to win up to $100 in bill credits. Click here to register.

Trico employee becomes a leader in our community

Tanya Mitchell is active in the community, volunteering for the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and other organizations.

One of the unique things about cooperatives is how they provide education and training for their Members, elected representatives, managers and employees so that they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.

Trico encourages employees to get the training and education they need to excel at their job. Tanya Mitchell is a great example of this.

Tanya began at Trico in 2006 as a Summer Intern and performed a variety of tasks including filing and data entry in numerous departments including Member Services, Design, IT and Accounting. She continued as an on-call employee while she attended the University of Arizona. Tanya graduated in May 2009 with a degree in Public Administration from Eller’s College of Management.

In 2010, she was offered the position of Renewable Resource Specialist, where she ensured that Trico’s renewable and demand-side management programs ran smoothly and continued to improve upon the processes and procedures of each program. While in this position, Trico was awarded Utility of the Year in 2012 by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).

“It was a rewarding experience to be able to take a program that was just beginning and develop it into what it is today, while also helping the Members,” Tanya said.

In 2014, Tanya transitioned to Commercial Account Specialist. In this position, she built and maintained strong, long-lasting relationships with Trico’s Commercial Accounts and Small Businesses. She also represented Trico at promotional events, trade shows, conventions, and participated in communication and business organizations, including multiple town chambers.

“In this position, I learned a lot about our service territory, and I enjoyed meeting with Members one-on-one,” she said.

Tanya was promoted to Senior Business Planning Analyst in 2019. The experience she gained from her previous positions has helped prepare her to be a better analyst.

“I have a better understanding of Trico and the Members we serve,” she said.

Tanya is also active in the community, volunteering for the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Junior Achievement and United Way. She is also involved in the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council and serves as Vice President of the Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT) Board.

In 2020, she participated in Greater Tucson Leadership, a 10-month program designed to teach adult learners how to be leaders and to engage in their community in more meaningful and impactful ways. She graduated from the program in June 2021.

“One of the key takeaways I learned from the training is that a leader doesn’t need a title to be a leader in their community,” Tanya said.

Trico maintains reliability by managing trees and vegetation near our lines

You may see Trico employees or contractors trimming trees or pruning vegetation near Trico lines. We do this to prevent trees from contacting our lines, to provide our line crews with clear access to maintain the lines and to make repairs quickly during an outage.

Maintaining vegetation helps improve reliability in our system and reduce costly damage to our lines. When performing this work, we strive to respect our Members’ privacy and protect our beautiful natural surroundings.

We do this by working within easements and rights-of-way (ROW). These are property rights that authorize Trico to install and maintain our lines and perform clean-up work. It is vital for safety and reliability that these areas be kept clear. A well-maintained right-of-way makes visually identifying any down lines easy to locate, and it makes power restoration times shorter by not having to wrangle lines out of trees. The photo above is an example of a fence that prevents our staff from getting to Trico’s power poles. You can help us by not putting up fences, structures, trees or vegetation that block access within Trico’s easements and ROW.

One employee who plays a key role in protecting our lines is our Patrolman. Trico’s Patrolman monitors Trico’s service area to make sure the equipment is working properly and there are no obstructions, including fences, trees or other vegetation. You may see our Patrolman in the field, wearing a Trico uniform and performing this important work.

The overall goal of our vegetation management program is to provide reliable power to our Members while maintaining the beauty of our community. Proactive vegetation management benefits Members in three tangible ways:

Safety

First and foremost, we care about our Members and put their safety and that of our linemen above all else. Overgrown vegetation and trees pose a risk to power lines. For example, if trees are touching power lines in our Members’ yards, they can pose a serious danger. Electricity can arc, or jump, from a power line to a nearby tree. A proactive approach diminishes the chances of fallen branches or trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for linemen to restore power.

Reliability

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of a smart vegetation management program is reliability. Strategic tree trimming reduces the frequency of downed lines causing power outages. Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear to promote reliability.

We monitor our entire system and take extra steps in areas with heavy vegetation. For example, we rent a helicopter to monitor the line serving Mt. Lemmon.

Affordability

As you know, Trico is a not-for-profit cooperative, and that means we strive to keep our costs down to keep our rates affordable. This extends to our approach to vegetation management. If trees grow too close to power lines, the potential for expensive repairs also increases. Effective tree trimming and other vegetation management efforts keep costs down for everyone.

Our community is a special place. We appreciate the natural beauty and do our best to limit our impact on our Members, but we also know our community depends on us to provide reliable energy. Through vegetation management, we are better able to keep the power lines clear, prepare for future weather events and secure the reliability of the grid. If you are aware of any potential hazard near a Trico line, please contact Trico at 520-744-2944, and thank you for helping to keep easements and rights-of-way clear so we can continue to provide safe, reliable power in a cost-effective manner.

Let’s stay connected

Has your phone number, address or email changed recently?

Please take a minute to update your contact information on SmartHub at trico.smarthub.coop, call us at (520) 744‑2944 or email us at memberservices@trico.coop.

Accurate information enables us to improve member service and enhance communications for reporting and repairing outages. Up-to-date contact information can potentially speed up the power restoration process during an outage. For example, the phone number you provide is linked to your service address in our outage management system. This means when you call to report an outage, our system recognizes your phone number and matches it with your account location. Accurate information helps our outage management system predict the location and possible cause of an outage, making it easier for our crews to correct the problem.

We will never share your information with any third parties.

Log in to your online account — from our website or the SmartHub mobile app — and verify your contact information (including your email address). Haven’t set up your online account yet? Click here to create a SmartHub account.

Trico Community Scale Solar and Battery Storage Facility coming to Pinal County

Trico Electric Cooperative, Torch Clean Energy and CoBank are partnering to construct a 10 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility along with a 15 megawatt battery storage system on Edwin Road west of North Oracle Road, within Pinal County. The solar and battery storage project is called the Chirreon Facility (Chirreon). Construction of Chirreon will begin in fall 2021 and is projected to be in service by mid-2022.

Chirreon will have over 40,000 photovoltaic solar panels, and the 15 megawatt battery storage system will be capable of discharging 30 MWh of energy. Chirreon will be located in the Trico service area on approximately 90 acres of land owned by the Arizona State Land Department. The solar panels have single-axis tracking devices that automatically track the sun throughout the day to maximize power generation. The battery storage will help Trico delay the cost of transmission and distribution upgrades and manage area load in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Once operational the Chirreon facility will produce more than 30,000 megawatt-hours of energy each year, or enough to power about 3,000 average residential homes in the Trico service territory.

“As a community-owned cooperative, Trico’s mission is to provide its Members safe, reliable energy in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner. The battery storage system at Chirreon will be one of the first for a cooperative in Arizona, and it exemplifies Trico’s commitment to achieving its mission and serving its Members in innovative ways.” said Brian Heithoff, CEO and General Manager of Trico.

“Torch is honored to continue its partnership with Trico as we embark on our second project with them to deliver more locally generated renewable energy for the community,” said Jon Kilberg of Torch. “Building the first energy storage system for an Arizona cooperative utility is a major milestone for both the Trico community and the state! We are proud to play a role in Trico’s development of solar energy capabilities as well as its transition to a green future.”

Through a long-standing partnership, CoBank provided the financing for this project.

“CoBank Farm Credit Leasing is honored to continue our relationship with Trico to finance this innovative solution that expands its affordable and solar energy options,” said Graham Kaiser, senior relationship manager for CoBank. “As a mission-driven lender, we look forward to the completion of this project and the ability for Trico to expand its service for Members in an environmentally responsible manner.”

 

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About Trico Electric Cooperative –

Trico is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving more than 45,000 members in northwest Tucson, Marana, Corona de Tucson, Saddlebrooke, Sahuarita, Green Valley, Three Points and Arivaca. Formed in 1945, Trico is owned by the people it serves.

 

About Torch Clean Energy –

Torch Clean Energy is a privately-held renewable energy developer with extensive experience developing, permitting, designing and building both solar and wind projects. Torch has over 1,400 MW of projects under development throughout the United States, including over 550 MW of contracted assets that are expected to be constructed by 2023. To learn more about Torch, visit www.torchcleanenergy.com.

 

About CoBank

CoBank is a $160 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 75,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

GET IN TOUCH

FAX: (520) 353-1640

WHERE TO FIND US

Trico Electric Cooperative
8600 W. Tangerine Rd.
Marana, AZ 85658

Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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