Commitment to a mission, even in times of change
January 9, 2020
Change is here. Today we announced the upcoming closures of three coal facilities: the Escalante Station in Prewitt, New Mexico, by the end of 2020; Craig Station in Craig, Colorado, by 2030; and the Colowyo Mine near Meeker, Colorado, by 2030.
We can’t make an announcement like this without recognizing that coal-fired generation has played a hugely important role in the reliable delivery of electricity to our members for decades. So the decision to close these facilities was not an easy one.
In generation, we know change is a constant. When you provide power 24 hours a day, you know you have to adjust, preparing for variables in all elements of the process: fuel supply, water supply, unpredictable demand, weather, environmental regulations, economics, advancing technology… every day a new challenge.
The resilience of our teams through these constant changes has always impressed me. They’re dedicated to the goal – making the electricity that powers our members and their communities.
The power is the end product and what we’re built to deliver, but today it’s the people who I want to acknowledge – their hard work, resilience and the pride they take in the work they do. It’s not an easy job. It takes a certain blend of grit, dedication, and a focus on the bigger purpose that keeps these teams working day and night. We will never take for granted the service they provide, and the role electricity plays in the quality of life we have the privilege to enjoy.
All it takes is a few hours without electricity to remind us of all the ways we count on the power being available when we flip the switch. Our teams never lose sight of how critical their work is, and what it enables for us all.
Our mission is centered around providing our members reliable, affordable and responsible power, and a big part of being responsible includes a responsibility to our employees and the communities we serve. We know the role we play not only powers communities, but also brings good jobs to local economies.
So while we work in the coming months and years toward the eventual closures of these facilities, a large part of our focus will be on our people and their communities. We’re working directly with our employees to outline their options with the hope of easing the transition whenever and wherever possible. In an industry where you used to be able to find the job of a lifetime that might just last your lifetime, stamping an expiration date on these jobs is hard. Especially when you get to know the people who these changes impact.
I don’t think I can emphasize it enough – there’s so much of what we get to enjoy every day, the conveniences of our everyday life, that is thanks to these teams. These are people who don’t just punch a clock, they put in the effort required to get the job done, whatever it takes. They solve problems, get creative when they need to, and put in the extra hours to make sure they deliver. If we ever need an example of dedication to turn to, we can find it among these teams.
While they’re always focused on our mission and delivering power safely, it’s even more critical for our employees to be safe while we adapt to these new changes. We’ll be using all the tools available to us to keep safety a top priority and will continue looking out for each other every day.
The communities where we operate have always supported our mission and our employees, and we’re working directly with those communities to understand where we can best support them moving forward. Leaders in New Mexico and Colorado have already expressed their support during the transition, and we will do all we can to ensure the support of policymakers and other interests that have important roles in sustaining energy-producing communities.
The path forward for our industry brings a new landscape. I’m confident that we have what it takes to make the steps forward into that future, while also being proud of where we’ve come from and what we were built upon. Our mission has always guided us, and now we follow it into a new tomorrow.