LPSC votes in favor of power purchase agreements, could reduce rates in 2025 for WSTE customers

Published 10:35 am Monday, January 31, 2022

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On Tuesday, Jan. 25, 1803 Electric Cooperative, Inc.’s (1803) application for approval of power purchase agreements (PPA) and cost recovery to begin in 2025 was heard and approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC).

The LPSC’s approval culminated after almost four years of efforts by industry experts to determine the best solution for 1803’s members and their consumers. 1803 is a member-owned electric cooperative consisting of five-member electric cooperatives: Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Claiborne Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative, Inc.; and South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association. Collectively, 1803’s members serve approximately 120,000 consumers in Louisiana.

Starting in 2025, the member ratepayers of 1803 will see the benefits reliable power supply with lower rates and cleaner energy will bring. The portfolio will consist of PPA’s for highly efficient natural gas generation, utility scale solar projects, fixed price contracts and hydroelectric generation. 1803 will not own or operate any of the power plant resources.

Four of the five LPSC commissioners voted in favor of the 1803 application, including Foster Campbell, Lambert Boissiere III, Mike Francis and Dr. Craig Greene. LPSC Chairman Greene opened the matter stating: “1803 followed all of the commission rules and conducted a competitive RFP, whereby 31 bidders put forth 197 qualifying offers. This robust response to 1803’s RFP I think is a powerful indication that a broad cross-section of companies want to invest in Louisiana’s energy future and deliver lower rates with reliable, flexible options to customers … The portfolio will reduce electric rates for 120,000 customers … This is a great day for the state of Louisiana and for this commission.”

Charles Hill, General Manager of 1803, stated: “The approval of 1803’s proposed power supply portfolio is a significant victory for our member cooperatives and the members they serve. Being able to provide a reduction in future rates for our members is extraordinary. We could not have done this without the support of our membership and the talented 1803 team working with the LPSC. We are very grateful for their efforts.”

Kyle Marionneaux of Marionneaux Kantrow, LLC, legal counsel for 1803, led the 1803 team through the process at the LPSC. The process started in 2019 with a notice to conduct an RFP, a highly competitive national RFP, a six-day hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge in October of 2021 regarding the merits of the portfolio and culminated with approval of the portfolio at the B&E Meeting of the LPSC on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Brian Hobbs of Pain Garland and Hobbs, LLP was instrumental in the process as well.

1803 hired Alliance for Cooperative Energy Services (ACES), an energy services company headquartered in Carmel, Ind., to conduct its power supply request for proposals, as well as to perform a resource planning analysis, risk analytics, PPA negotiations and LPSC testimony supporting the portfolio. Jason Painter, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, stated “ACES is honored to serve the cooperative ratepayers of Louisiana and we are very pleased with this outcome.”