Candidate Lisa Rosintoski has spent her entire career in the energy utility industry, including stints in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
At Yampa Valley Electric Association’s annual member meeting last year, Lisa Rosintoski — who has decades of experience when it comes to power utilities — told the co-op’s board chair Tom Fox that she was planning to throw her hat in the ring for a board seat.
“The response to me was, ‘Well, you’re going to have to beat me,’” Rosintoski recalled Fox telling her.
Fox, who is looking for his fifth and final term on the board, has represented YVEA’s sixth district for 12 years, an area that encompasses much of North Routt County. Rosintoski, who has worked in energy for her entire career, including power utilities in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, moved to Clark about two years ago.
“I always joke with people that I have zero arts and crafts abilities, so I thought how can I be a contributor to the community,” Rosintoski said. “Yampa Valley [electric] has such a huge service territory too. I thought, hey that’d be fun.”
YVEA’s board elections are held through a mail ballot, and those ballots were sent out to members late last month.
The results of the election will be shared during the co-op’s annual member meeting next week. In addition to the district six race, district two also has a competitive race between incumbent Debbie Cook and challenger Ray DuBois.
The potential board turnover comes as Fox says the co-op has just taken perhaps the biggest step in its history by securing a deal for a new wholesale power supplier and separate — at least partially — from Xcel Energy.
“Its probably the largest single decision that the board has ever made,” Fox said. “These contracts are very long. … By doing this, we’re going to save our members tens of millions of dollars.”
When weighing who to support in the upcoming election, Fox asked voters to look at his record while serving on the co-op’s board. He initially joined because he felt YVEA’s leadership was making if harder than it needed to be for new development. During his tenure, Fox has been a part of overhauling the power provider’s leadership, selling the old downtown building, moving to a new centralized campus on the west side of Steamboat and helping the co-op prepare itself in a quickly changing energy landscape.
“12 years ago when I got on, we were considered 10 years behind,” Fox said. “Since then, we are one of the leading co-ops.”
Looking forward, Fox said he wants to spend the next three years seeing the new deal with Guzman Energy start to be implemented, though it won’t take full effect until 2028. Focusing on hardening the co-op’s energy delivery system and continuing to develop Luminate Broadband are some of his other priorities. Preparing for an increased number of electric cars locally and more electrification in general is another big step Fox said the board will need to work on in the coming years.
“[The use of EVs] is growing so we’re going to need the infrastructure,” Fox said.
Fox’s challenger, Rosintoski said the new power agreement would be a big focus for her as well if she was elected, starting with understanding how member values were incorporated into the new deal.
“The agreement was executed, no feedback from the public,” Rosintoski said. “You’ve got to get your member feedback on what the guardrails are for the power purchase agreement.”
Part of Rosintoski’s experience in the power industry has been on the public relations side, trying to listen to customer’s wants and communicate what they were doing to deliver. She said she feels the co-op needs to have better communication with its members and work harder to understand which direction they want the organization to go.
Rosintoski also wants to better understand the co-op’s costs, which she said are some of the highest service access costs in the state. She also wants to do more member surveys and public outreach to really understand what members want the co-op to be doing and what they don’t want.
“I’ve focused on tackling costs … I’ve really scratched my head over that,” Rosintoski said. “Then [I would focus on] honoring member values. … Everybody had a different perspective on how they want their energy delivered and one size doesn’t fit all.”
YVEA’s annual meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the co-op’s Steamboat Springs Headquarters. Registration begins at 3 p.m., with the meeting starting at 3:30 p.m.
Top Photo Caption: Xcel Energy's Hayden Station. (Dylan Anderson/The Yampa Valley Bugle)