The board of Tri-State Generation and Transmission has voted to exclude the New Mexico electric cooperatives it serves from a program that offers rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances and fixtures.

Tri-State serves Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and 11 other co-ops in the state.

Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey said in an email that the board voted to stop the program for co-ops that “are not paying the full cost of electric service, including the cost of providing energy efficiency service.”

New Mexico regulators have suspended a proposed rate hike from Tri-State pending an investigation into whether the increase is warranted. Because of the suspension, Tri-State argues that New Mexico co-ops are not paying the same rates as co-ops in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

“Energy efficiency is important to Tri-State and its member cooperatives,” Boughey wrote, adding that the board will consider a energy efficiency program designed for those co-op’s “not paying the full cost of electric service.”

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative CEO Luís Reyes called the exclusion “punitive.” “It doesn’t hurt Kit Carson, the corporation, it hurts the consumer.”

J.R. Logan is a reporter for The Taos News.

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