MOUNTAIN PARKS ELECTRIC, INC.
Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors
December 8, 2022
Present: Liz McIntyre, Jeff Hauck, Kristen Taddonio, Mark Volt, Cray Healy, Mark Johnston, Adam Paulson, Rob Taylor, Adam White, Angie Wallace, and Tiffany Macchione attended in person. Justin Fosha, Carl Trick, Adam White, and Bryson Fredregill attended remotely by video or telephone. Director Mark Volt entered the meeting during the Manager’s Report.
Call to Order
President Liz McIntyre called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.
Determination of Quorum
A quorum was declared.
The Board reviewed minutes from the November 10, 2022, meeting.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried to approve the minutes for the November 10, 2022, board meeting as presented.
Attorney Summary Fees Report
The Board reviewed Attorney Williamson’s fees summary report for November 2022.
General Manager Johnston presented the Manager’s Report.
Johnston reported that management and legal are reviewing the draft power purchase agreement from CloudBreak for the proposed community solar project. Johnston provided a status update on the Tri-State FERC dockets, reporting that additional exceptions have been filed in the contract termination payment docket. Johnston reported that MPEI continues to work with FEMA for reimbursement for the East Troublesome Fire recovery costs. MPEI has received some reimbursements with others pending. MPEI is inquiring with FEMA and the state to see if some previously authorized reimbursements can be increased due to increased costs
Johnston reported that fiber construction is completed for the winter, and MPEI continues its negotiations with Connexon on a fiber lease. Johnston reported that MPEI’s line school scholarship was awarded to a local student.
Johnston introduced MPEI’s new Human Resources Manager, Angie Wallace. Johnston also reported that Emily Meeks will soon be joining MPEI as its Chief Financial Officer.
Johnston reported that Tri-State will be retiring approximately $10 million in capital credits, $285,000.00 of which will go to MPEI. MPEI has elected to receive its retirement in December of 2022.
Johnston reported that closing on the sale MPEI’s parcel in Winter Park has been extended to December 29, 2022.
Johnston requested the board consider investment of MPEI funds in short term certificates of deposit and discussed various investment strategies.
Director Mark Volt entered the meeting.
Jeremy Krones, Michelle Corden, Jeremy Huntington, and Ted Cherry entered the meeting.
Krones presented the Granby Highland Trails Project, a proposed 780-acre conservation easement along the Colorado River near Granby. The easement would be granted to the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust with the goals designed to protect local wildlife while conserving some outdoor recreation opportunities. The Land Trust requested that MPEI contribute $75,000.00 to the acquisition of the easement. The guests discussed the history of the land, benefited species, recreational opportunities, funding, and adjacent landowner consent.
Krones, Corden, Huntington, and Cherry exited the meeting.
Manager’s Report Continued
Johnston reported that staff met with the Colorado Energy Office to discuss programs arising from the Marshall Fire that provide funds for residential fire recovery upgrades for energy efficiency, battery systems, EV chargers, and code compliance.
The board discussed and consented to Manager Johnston’s proposed investment strategy for MPEI funds.
The Safety Report prepared by Adam White was reviewed. There were no major incidents to report. White also reported on contractor safety on the Highway 125 Rebuild Project.
Johnston and Paulson answered questions about the remaining steps for completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the fiber build.
Discussion & Action Items
East Grand School District Funding Request
Brad Ray, East Grand School District Superintendent, and Lisa Mirabito, East Grand School District Transportation Director, entered the meeting.
Ray and Mirabito presented a request for contribution to funding the shortfall between the actual costs and state awarded grant funds for the acquisition and installation of two electric school buses. The shortfall is due in part to the need for Level 3 chargers and increased cost of the buses . The board and guests discussed other sources of funding for the project and existing infrastructure.
Ray and Mirabito exited the meeting.
The board discussed the prior West Grand School District electric school bus contribution and potential funding sources for the East Grand request, including unclaimed capital credits and in-kind contributions.
President McIntyre recessed the meeting at 9:55 a.m. and reconvened at 10:06 a.m.
Policy C-5 Rebate Program
Johnston presented a revised Policy C-5 Rebate Program.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried to approve Policy C-5 as presented.
Policy C-6 Use of MPEI Community Rooms
Johnston presented a revised Policy C-6 Use of MPEI Community Rooms. The board proposed additional revisions to the policy.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried to approve Policy C-6 as revised.
Operations and Engineering Reports
Adam Paulson presented the Operations and Engineering Report. Paulson presented photos of right-of-way clearance. Paulson discussed November work orders and updated the board on the Highway 125 construction. Weather has interrupted construction, but Paulson is hopeful that the Highway 125 project will be completed by the first of the year.
Paulson discussed the status of the punch list and anticipated completion of the fiber construction for Phases I and II. Paulson reported that MPEI has gone nearly a year without a lost time accident.
MPEI is reviewing bids for contracted projects, and recently welcomed new staff in the operations and engineering departments, including Isaiah Herod as a new apprentice lineman and Taylor Johnson as a new journeyman lineman. The line crew is fully staffed. Three positions remain open: a fleet mechanic, staff engineer, and GIS technician. MPEI and contractors completed brush clearing in line right of ways near Fraser to improve safety and worked to restore outages as quickly as possible in response to weather related outages. MPEI is now using a drone to inspect portions of its line and has had good results.
General Manager Johnston presented the Financial Report. He reported that October revenue, expenses, and margins are all above budget. Johnston reported that MPEI has a healthy cash balance. Capital credit retirements were announced, with MPEI retiring approximately $2.2 million. There is no planned rate increase for 2023.
Information Technology Report
General Manager Johnston presented the IT report. Johnston reported on efforts to hire an IT Specialist.
Human Resources & Administration Report
General Manager Johnston presented the HR Report. Johnston reported on recent hires and positions that have been difficult to fill. The board asked questions about recruitment, and Johnston explained additional steps being taken to attract candidates and fill openings. Supporting MPEI’s existing employees and filling all positions with qualified candidates remains a top priority.
Communications and Member Relations Report
Rob Taylor presented the Communications and Member Relations Report. Taylor reported on MPEI efforts to proactively combat scam call events. Scam callers are calling members and threatening to shut power off unless the member sends the scammers a payment.
Taylor reported that MPEI has several member engagement events and contests underway, including the holiday lighting contest. MPEI staff and board also discussed scholarship opportunities and noted the increased availability of scholarships for vocational training.
Taylor reported that the District 1 (Fraser/Winter Park) and District 3 (Jackson County) board seats are up for election in Spring 2023. Members interested in running for the board can pick up their candidate packets in the Granby or Walden Office.
Director Trick inquired if the community solar projects are producing enough electricity to cover the loan payments. Manager Johnston reported that yes, they are, with enough left over to cover taxes and fees plus a small margin.
Bills for Payment
The Board reviewed bills for payment in November.
Board Reports and Open Forum
Jeff Hauck reported on his attendance at the regular meeting of the CREA Board of Directors. Topics discussed included meeting structure, grants for co-ops, cybersecurity, resource adequacy, and Xcel rates. CREA proposed revisions to Xcel’s resource adequacy bill to limit the requirements to wholesale providers and to make the Colorado Energy Office the reporting office.
Carl Trick reported on his attendance at the regular meeting of the Tri-State Board of Directors. There will be a CEO Town Hall held on December 12, 2022. Tri-State approved approximately $10 million in capital credit retirements. The Board received a presentation from the Southwest Power Pool on its regional transmission organization. Duane Highley recently met with the USDA to discuss availability of Inflation Reduction Act funds. Highley also met with the rating agencies. Tri-State will be seeking support for a better high-voltage bridge and DC tie line on the eastern-western interconnect. Tri-State has reduced personnel from 1240 to 1100. Trick reported that the board passed the 2023 budget and will have a $0 deferred revenue balance by the end of 2022.
Liz McIntyre reported on the NRECA governance series. She also reported that Grand County Economic Development is tracking daily visitors to the region.
Granby Highland Trails Project
The board discussed administration of MPEI’s Conflict of Interest Policy and issues related to appearance of conflict of interest. McIntyre disclosed that she was involved with the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust 27 years ago. The board discussed Director Healy’s participation in deliberation and voting on the Granby Highland Trails Project decision given the risk of the appearance of a conflict of interest, which is to be distinguished from an actual conflict of interest. The board was comfortable with Mr. Healy’s participation in the deliberation and deferred to him as to his participation in the vote.
The board discussed the value and impact of the proposed conservation easement. Director Volt was in favor of contributing a lesser amount to the project. Director Trick has reservations about conservation easements and believes there are too many unanswered questions with respect to the Granby Highland Trails Project.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried by majority to contribute $50,000.00 to the acquisition of the Granby Highland Trails conservation easement as presented contingent upon prior review of the final easement and recognition of MPEI’s participation. Director Trick voted against the motion. Director Healy abstained from the vote.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried to go into Executive Session for consideration of a legal update, personnel matters, and power supply, with all Directors, and General Manager Johnston and HR Manager Wallace in attendance. Attorney Fredregill and Operations Manager Paulson were present for the portion of executive session where the legal update and power supply were discussed.
President McIntyre recessed the meeting at 12:24 p.m. and reconvened at 1:00 p.m.
MOTION: It was properly moved, seconded, and carried to exit executive session.
The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.