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Renewable Energy Boost Rate


Renewable Energy Boost Rate gives Members an affordable way to contribute to Trico’s energy goals

May 1, 2024

Sustainability is part of Trico’s mission. The Renewable Energy Boost Rate is designed to provide Trico Members with an inexpensive and flexible renewable energy option. Members on this rate benefit from a simple and transparent way to go green, without having to invest in home solar systems.N

Members on this rate pay an extra $0.01 per kWh to roundup from the amount of renewables on Trico’s system (35%) to cover 100% of your usage. Trico will purchase and retire Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the West to account for the difference.

What’s a REC and how does it work?

A REC is a renewable energy certificate. Because the physical electricity we receive through the utility grid says nothing of its origin or how it was generated, RECs play an important role in accounting, tracking, and assigning ownership to renewable electricity generation and use. Trico will purchase RECs from the West, ensuring it is a legitimate REC that will be retired to you. Retiring the REC means that you, and only you, will be able to use that particular REC and it will not be sold again to another Member. As your local cooperative, Trico takes integrity seriously and is proud to ensure there is transparency and accountability in how we purchase and retire these RECs.

How much more will I spend per month on my energy usage?

The average Trico Member will spend an additional $4-$8 per month on their energy bill, depending on their individual usage each month and the time of year. Trico’s goal is to ensure Members can participate in this rate by providing an affordable and sustainable energy solution.

How do I know if this rate is right for me?

This rate offers an inexpensive option for Members who are willing to pay a little more each month for renewable energy. This rate might be right for you if:

  • You want to go green without having to purchase a home solar system.
  • You’re willing to pay a little extra each month to reduce carbon emissions.
  • You’re invested in supporting a sustainable future.

For more information, visit our website at www.trico.coop/sustainable-energy.

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CEO Column: A technological revolution is taking place


A technological revolution is taking place, and we need to adapt

May 1, 2024

There was a time when the bill from Trico was simply called “the light bill”. This is because lighting was the primary thing for which people needed electricity. But the behind-the-meter world underwent a technological revolution, and electricity became the lifeblood of homes, businesses, farms, and ranches.

A similar shift is occurring today. A technological revolution is creating new forms of energy generation, storage and other grid-enabling services that are changing the operation of the grid from a simple “generate-transmit-distribute” model into something more complex that, if properly leveraged, can deliver vast amounts of value to Members.

In most respects, energy has always been sold as a service. Members do not buy electrons as much as they buy lighting, heating, cooling and now charging services, that are provided by equipment that uses electricity. Electricity consumption in effect is the consumption of energy services.

The Trico electricity system on which our Members depend is changing, powered by technological innovations, increased use of distributed energy resources (DER), and changing Member needs and preferences in an increasingly connected world.

The increasing demand for system reliability and carbon reduction, coupled with the increasing capabilities of DERs, means new price signals are necessary. Rate designs need to follow suit to encourage the beneficial adoption of modern technologies, like electric vehicles and DER. In other words, rate design is a significant part of the changes needed to modernize our grid. Fred Butler, former President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, once said, “You can’t have a smart grid with dumb rates.”

While there are benefits to a straight-forward rate design for Members who want something simple, Trico believes that price structures should evolve towards time-varying prices (TVPs), which recognize that prices are higher when member demand on the system is higher.

Trico has invested in foundational technologies such as advanced metering infrastructure and meter data management systems, which make TVPs possible.

TVPs can take many forms but they work by pricing electricity higher at times when demand on the system is high, incentivizing Members to reduce their electricity use when it is most expensive to generate or when there are capacity constricts on the transmission or distribution system. This reduces stress on the power grid and lowers wholesale energy and capacity costs by reducing the need for inefficient and costly peaking plants. TVPs can allow engaged Members to capture benefits of managing their energy use, and by reducing demand they can produce savings for all Members.

We want to offer options to our Members and provide programs that serve our mission of cost‑effective and sustainable energy solutions. We can tailor rates that help Members and benefit the entire system, and we are committed to doing so. Thank you for being a valued Member.

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Thank you for attending our Annual Membership Meeting


Thank you for attending our Annual Membership Meeting

May 1, 2024

On behalf of the Trico Board of Directors and staff, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our Members who attended our Annual Membership Meeting on April 6, 2024 at Casino del Sol Resort.

We had record attendance, with nearly 750 attendees. We also had a record number of Members voting for their Board of Directors online and at the meeting with 978 total votes. Directors Jerry Rutherford (District 1), David Proctor (District 2) and Joe King (District 5) were reelected for a three-year term.

We appreciate the Members who took the time to join us and learn more about how your local cooperative works for you. We hope you enjoyed the face painting, photo booth, free food, raffle prizes, cash bar, tree sales, informational booths, and more! Raffle prizes included a 2006 Chevy Silverado 1500 truck, an electric bicycle, a one-night stay at Casino del Sol Resort, a Kitchen Aid Mixer, a 42″ TV, an iPad, Beats headphones and Trico bill credits.

“This was the best meeting I have attended in years,” Trico Member Patricia Pesek posted on Facebook.

We enjoyed the opportunity to connect and share Trico’s successes and future with all of you. If you missed the meeting, you can watch the replay on Facebook at https://fb.watch/rk18tR6XU8/.

Thank you for being a Trico Member, and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s Annual Membership Meeting.

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Free Virtual Solar Workshop

Is solar right for you? Join Trico’s experts virtually as they answer your rooftop solar questions BEFORE you sign with a contractor. Register in advance here.

To ask any immediate solar related questions, email us at sunwatts@trico.coop or call us at 520-744-2944, ext. 1524.

 

We Offer Flexible Payment Options


We Offer Flexible Payment Options

April 1, 2024

For your convenience, Trico has a number of ways that you can pay your bill. Budget Billing and Pay As You Go are two easy bill pay options that we provide.

Budget Billing

Want to know what your bill will be each month? Budget Billing is an optional Trico payment plan that allows you to pay for your electric use in equal monthly installments. We offer two options: Levelized Budget and Fixed Budget.

Variable Budget

With this option, the amount you owe is recalculated every month based on the last eleven (11) months’ kilowatt-hour usage plus the number of kilowatt-hours used in the current month. Though the Variable Budget option helps make your payments more even, the amount you pay is not the same every month.

Fixed Budget

With this option, your payment is the same every month. The amount is calculated once a year based on the last eleven (11) months’ kilowatt-hour usage plus the number of kilowatt-hours used in the current month. Every May the account is evaluated, and adjustments are made if necessary.

If you meet the requirements for our billing plans and would like to apply, fill out the form on our website. For questions, contact Member Services at 520-744-2944.

Pay As You Go

If you prefer to pay for electricity in advance, our Pay As You Go program is a good option for you. Pay As You Go is a self-managed program. You purchase electricity before you use it. Payments can be made when you want – online, over the phone, on the SmartHub app or in person at Trico’s office. When your account runs low, you will get an alert by email, text or phone call.

To learn more about these options, visit here

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CEO Column: A Big Win for Trico Members


Trico is awarded $83.5 million to fund four renewable energy and battery projects

April 1, 2024

Trico was one of five cooperatives across the country selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move forward in the award process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program.

Trico’s projects include the following:

Arivaca Rural Microgrid: A microgrid with 3MW of solar generation and 3MW/12MWh of battery storage capacity, designed to serve the load of approximately 620 residents in Arivaca. A microgrid is a power system that can be detached from the main electric grid either full time or for a specific event, like a power outage. This project is designed to use renewable energy and battery technology to improve reliability and resilience, especially during extreme weather events like monsoons. Trico also received a $7 million grant from the Department of Energy for this project.

Trico Standalone Battery Energy Storage System: This 10MW/40MWh battery storage system will help Trico manage its peaks and save Members money by charging the battery when solar energy is plentiful and prices are low, and discharging energy during peaks when market prices are high. The project will be located on the northwest side of Trico’s service territory where rapid growth is increasing demand.

Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility II: A facility with 10MW of solar generation and 10MW/40MWh of battery storage capacity. The project will be located near Trico’s existing Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility in Marana and will be capable of powering about 2,500 homes. 

Valencia Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility: A facility with 10MW of solar generation and 10MW/40MWh of battery storage capacity. The project will be located near Trico’s Valencia Substation and will be capable of powering about 2,500 homes.

Trico expects to develop and build the PACE projects over the next five years working with regional partners and the community to locate the projects and maximize their effectiveness. Development work will start immediately.

PACE is a big win for Trico Members and we are excited to be working with USDA and Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The projects Trico is planning to build will provide cost‑effective, sustainable energy solutions and benefit our Members for decades to come.

Captions:

In support of Trico’s $83.5 million Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) award, Trico Staff and Board welcomed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Dr. Basil Gooden to Trico’s headquarters on March 14, 2024. Trico provided a tour of the Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility to Under Secretary Gooden, USDA officials, and local and statewide representatives.

Top right: Under Secretary Dr. Basil Gooden (center) with Eric Hawkins, Trico COO and General Counsel, and Brian Heithoff, Trico CEO and GM, tours Trico’s Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility. Bottom right: Following the tour, Trico hosted a roundtable discussion regarding Trico’s four clean energy PACE projects.

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2024 Annual Membership Meeting

Trico’s Annual Membership Meeting is a fun community event that includes food, raffle prizes, workshops, and informational tables on Trico’s programs, allowing Members to learn more about the benefits of being a Member.

The 2024 Annual Membership Meeting takes place on April 6, 2024 at Casino del Sol Resort – 5655 W. Valencia Rd.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Please bring a copy of your bill for fast check-in. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. and will last one hour. Before the meeting, check out our workshops on Member-owned solar and our informational booths.

Trees will be available for purchase for $10 each (up to 3 per active account).

Raffle prizes include a 2006 Chevy Silverado truck, an electric bicycle, Trico bill credits and more. See the box on the right for a list of prizes. Must be present to win.

There are three Board of Director positions up for re-election. See page 3 for information about the candidates.

For Members unable to attend in person, you can watch via Facebook Live.

Win these great raffle prizes at Annual Membership Meeting:

  • 2006 Chevy Silverado 1500
  • 4×4 regular cab truck
  • Electric bicycle
  • Kitchen Aid Mixer
  • 42” TV
  • iPad
  • Beats headphones
  • 1 night stay at Casino del Sol
  • Trico bill credits

*Must be present to win

Annual Membership Meeting Learn and Win Prizes


Annual Membership Meeting is great chance to learn and win prizes!

March 1, 2024

Trico’s Annual Membership Meeting is a fun community event that includes food, raffle prizes, workshops, and informational tables on Trico’s programs, allowing Members to learn more about the benefits of being a Member.

The 2024 Annual Membership Meeting takes place on April 6, 2024 at Casino del Sol Resort – 5655 W. Valencia Rd.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Please bring a copy of your bill for fast check-in. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. and will last one hour. Before the meeting, check out our workshops on Member-owned solar and our informational booths.

Trees will be available for purchase for $10 each (up to 3 per active account).

Raffle prizes include a 2006 Chevy Silverado truck, an electric bicycle, Trico bill credits and more. See the box on the right for a list of prizes. Must be present to win.

There are three Board of Director positions up for re-election. See page 3 for information about the candidates.

For Members unable to attend in person, you can watch via Facebook Live.

Win these great raffle prizes at Annual Membership Meeting:

  • 2006 Chevy Silverado 1500
  • 4×4 regular cab truck
  • Electric bicycle
  • Kitchen Aid Mixer
  • 42” TV
  • iPad
  • Beats headphones
  • 1 night stay at Casino del Sol
  • Trico bill credits

*Must be present to win

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Vote for 2024 Board of Directors


Vote for Your Board of Directors

March 1, 2024

It’s time to vote for your Board of Directors

The following candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Directors in the Districts listed.

Online voting and candidate videos are available on our website www.trico.coop. Just log into your SmartHub account and select the “Vote Now” button from the top, right-hand corner. If you don’t have a SmartHub account, you can still vote on our website, or pick up a ballot at Trico.

In order to be counted, your online votes must be received by April 3, 2024 at 11 a.m. Another option is to vote in person at the Trico Annual Membership Meeting on April 6, 2024.

District 1 (Dove Mountain, Marana)

Jerry Rutherford

Jerry has served on the Trico Board of Directors for 15 months. He was a Senior Vice President for 20 years for a cooperative in Kansas that served over 40 children’s hospitals in the U.S. He has also been chair of the Financial Affairs Committee for The Highlands at Dove Mountain and has many years of board experience, including serving as a board member at a savings bank, children’s hospital and a landscaping company.

I have extensive experience in finance and strategic planning which are areas of importance in any organization, particularly in this increasingly challenging financial market.

The key challenges facing electric utilities include capital requirements for capacity to serve significant business expansion, a growing population and climate changes, while dealing with technology changes for responses to environmental concerns, particularly in the Southern Arizona climate.

Balancing responsible fiscal management with responsiveness to change will be critical challenges to meeting customer expectations and needs.

The best way to better serve Members is through strategic financial planning to anticipate and prepare for the future, while managing the current day-to-day business operations. Focus, authenticity, courage, empathy and timing are critical leadership qualities that are needed to meet current and future Member needs.

District 2 (Marana, Avra Valley)

David Proctor

David joined the Board in October 2023. He is the Vice President of BKW Farms, which has been a Trico Member for 73 years. As Vice President, I have maintained great relationships with multiple key Marana entities and am involved in the planning for multiple long-term projects in the Marana/Avra Valley area. BKW also supports Marana High School programs and multiple community events in and around Marana.

For decades, BKW has cultivated relationships with residents and business owners within the Marana/Avra service area, giving me great insight on how best to represent them as a director. I have worked with Trico on several occasions over the years and believe it’s a well-run organization with great people. I am committed to maintaining the great service and rates Trico Members have become accustomed to.

I believe some of the challenges going into the future will be the demand on the current, aging infrastructure. With a growing population and more electric vehicles, I believe the demand will grow significantly over a short period of time. Another challenge will likely be maintaining affordable rates for customers as inflation continues to drive the cost of material goods up.

District 5 (Three Points, Altar Valley, Arivaca, Sasabe, Green Valley)

Joe King

Joe has served on the Trico Board for three years and is the current Treasurer. I have learned a lot in my first term as director. Trico directorship has been a great opportunity to watch how our Cooperative works and governs its operations. I am excited to continue serving our Members. Our family ranch has been in this valley since 1895 and we have been happy Trico Members since power arrived in the Altar Valley in the 1950s. Living in rural Pima County, I understand living remote from major services but we definitely appreciate the reliability the team at Trico ensures to membership.

I live and work full-time on our family’s cattle ranch and as such, I sit on a few various farm and ranch industry groups in Southern Arizona. I am currently Vice President of Pima County Farm Bureau. I am past President of Southern Arizona Cattlemen’s Protective Association.

Running our ranch, I have seen the rise in costs of production over the years and have had to manage costs of inputs. Another issue I deal with is finding and keeping good employees. It’s a balance that has always existed and it doesn’t seem to get easier.

Electric vehicles are a complicated topic. Discussions of where to build infrastructure, how much, and does Trico take on the servicing of charging stations and what requirements are future housing developments going to need if regulated to have charging capabilities.

Long term power generating is a very big issue. As coal plants get older or close, what sources can Trico go after and not be subject to outrageous demand charges when demand is high, and supply is low?

Trico does much to participate in the many communities to which it serves power. As a director of a more rural district, I appreciate Trico’s service to rural communities.

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FREE Virtual Energy Efficiency Workshop

Flipping a switch. Changing the air filter. Unplugging electronics. Making small changes and using energy wisely can help you save energy and money. Join us VIRTUALLY on April 24, 2024 from 6:00 – 7:00 PM for Trico’s FREE Virtual Energy Savings Workshop. This workshop will center on sharing ways you can save money by reducing energy usage in your home.

RSVP online here.

Rooftop Solar Considerations


Questions to consider before installing rooftop solar

February 1, 2024

The benefits of installing rooftop solar panels may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is, not every home (and homeowner’s situation) is always right for solar.

There are several factors to consider before installing a rooftop solar system, like determining if your home will receive enough sun to achieve your goals, finding the right contractor, negotiating contracts and other important details.

Investing in solar for your home is a major decision. If you’re considering rooftop solar, Trico can help. We are committed to providing information and guidance to assist Members in determining if solar is right for them. Our Energy Solutions Program Managers are available to serve as your energy partner throughout the solar interconnection process. To get started, visit our website at www.trico.coop/sustainable-energy or call us at 520-744-2944.

Here are questions to consider before installing rooftop solar panels.

  1. What are my goals? If your primary goal is to save money on electric bills, you may be able to achieve this by improving the energy efficiency of your home. Visit our website for a full list of energy efficiency tips and to see our upcoming free webinars and resources.
  2. Is my roof suitable for solar? Your roof should be in good condition before installing solar panels. If your roof is old and in poor shape, it may need to be replaced before panels can be mounted. Additionally, your roof should receive a lot of sun to make the most of a rooftop system. Consider how much sun (and shade) the roof receives and if any trees will need to be removed. Solar panels perform best when facing south, so keep this in mind as you think about where the panels will be mounted.
  3. How long will I own the home? If you’re considering rooftop solar, you’re likely planning to stay in the home for several years. But if you plan to sell the home at some point down the road, consider that not all potential buyers will want to maintain a rooftop solar system. If you enter a contract to lease the system, carefully review the terms and what those mean if you decide to sell the property.
  4. Lease or purchase? Purchasing a rooftop solar system outright is expensive, which is why many homeowners opt to lease their solar panels. However, federal tax credits can help cover some of the costs for a new system, up to 30%. Regardless of how you decide to finance the solar system, make sure you get several quotes from qualified contractors.
  5. Can the contractor provide up-to-date documentation? Request proof and documentation of the contractor’s licensing, permitting and other credentials. Comb through company reviews. Check the contractor’s status with the Better Business Bureau, the AZ Attorney General’s Office, and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
  6. Does the contract seem reasonable and fair? If you decide to hire a contractor to install rooftop solar, carefully read the fine print of the contract. Do the system performance calculations seem realistic? Does the project timeframe sound reasonable? Negotiate the contract terms to fit your goals and needs.
  7. Who will maintain the solar panels? Determining who is responsible for maintaining the solar panels will depend on who owns the system. If you lease the system from a solar installer, it may be their responsibility. Periodically, solar panels may need to be cleaned as dirt and debris can impact panel productivity. Parts may also need to be replaced, so it’s important to know who will take on these responsibilities.

If you decide to install solar, you should contact Trico to understand how the interconnection process works as well as what to expect on your bill. The system will likely be connected to the electric grid, so you’ll need to sign an interconnection agreement.

Did you miss our Virtual Solar Workshop on January 16? A recording of the workshop is available on our website at www.trico.coop/sustainable-energy.

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CEO Column: 2024 Annual Meeting


CEO Column: Join Us at the Annual Meeting

February 1, 2024

Get involved! Join us at the Annual Meeting

Every Trico employee is dedicated to our mission: Making a difference in the communities we serve by providing our Members cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions. One way we live that mission is by engaging with you, our Members, to better understand your needs and strive to exceed your expectations.  

With that in mind, one of my favorite events is coming up on April 6, 2024, when Trico will host our Annual Meeting. I always look forward to this event because it’s a great opportunity for our Board of Directors and employees to talk with our Members, hear what’s on their minds, and update Members on our plans for this year and the years to come.

We hope you’ll join us for our Annual Meeting. The business section of the Annual Meeting starts at 11 a.m. at Casino del Sol Resort. Registration will open at 9 a.m., and Members can check out our informational booths and workshops from 9–11 a.m. There will be food, raffle prizes, and trees for sale. Please remember, you must be present to win prizes and please bring a copy of your bill for fast check-in. For those who are unable to attend in person, we also offer a virtual option via Facebook Live.

Whether you attend in person or online, we thank you in advance for coming to the Annual Meeting. As a cooperative, we thrive when our Members get involved. Spending time with you and hearing your take on our community’s energy future is vital to helping us understand how we can best serve your needs.

As I have noted in this column in prior months, the energy industry is in the midst of massive changes. Our Members’ needs are changing, technology is changing, and these changes impact nearly every aspect of how we manage and deliver energy solutions to local homes, schools and businesses. We are ready for the challenge and excited to share updates about Trico’s financial strength, significant projects, and plans to continue providing cost-effective, sustainable, and innovative energy solutions into the future. I hope to see you on April 6, 2024.

You have a say

You may be wondering if your opinion really makes a difference at Trico. I am happy to say YES, it does! In fact, your opinion is essential, because everything we do is shaped by the Members we serve.

Electric co-ops are democratically controlled by the Members we serve, which means you have a say in who governs our co-op. By voting in the annual director election, you can weigh in on the leaders who will make important decisions about the future of the cooperative and how Trico serves your energy needs.

Our board of directors is comprised of seven Members who live and work right here in our local service area, so they are in the best position to know where community investments are most needed. We hope you’ll consider running for the board in the future, and for this year we encourage you all to vote.

We want to make voting as convenient as possible for our Members, so we offer a variety of ways for you to participate. If you join us at the Annual Meeting on April 6, you can cast your vote in person. If you’re unable to attend, you can vote using the SmartHub app or on our website at www.trico.coop. Voting on the website and SmartHub will be available starting February 12, 2024.  

The right to vote for representation on Trico’s board of directors is one of the most significant benefits of being a Member of a cooperative. We hope you’ll exercise the benefits of your co-op membership, vote, and join us for the Annual Meeting on April 6. We look forward to seeing you. Thank you for being a Member.

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