By Joe Smyth | firstname.lastname@example.org | @joesmyth
Last month, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association began running its latest advertising campaign, which tells electric cooperatives they are "Better Together" with Tri-State.
But during one co-op board meeting, it became clear that Tri-State had not received permission to use the co-op's name and logo on the advertisements, and Mountain Parks Electric asked Tri-State to stop running ads that used the co-op's name.
The Tri-State “Better Together” ads are dramatized versions of a rhetorical device that Tri-State has used for years: conflating the contractual relationship between distribution cooperatives and a generation and transmission association, with the emotional qualities of a family bond.
For example, Tri-State press releases quote its CEO referring to “our cooperative family” at last year’s annual meeting. The catchphrase for Tri-State’s 2015 Annual Report was “One family, powered by many.” In a recent article, a former Tri-State executive characterized the Kit Carson Electric's decision to leave Tri-State as “part of a family discussion.”
Similarly, Tri-State’s “Better Together” ad campaign tells readers:
Our family of not-for-profit electric cooperative and public power districts, leverages our combined resources and knowledge- giving us the stability we need to succeed when it counts for you. By working together, we also have a stronger voice and are able to adapt to a changing marketplace.
The advertisement’s imagery take this a step further, showing photos of families and children sledding, playing football, and reading next to the names and logos of Tri-State and the local electric cooperatives that buy power from Tri-State.
The video advertisement goes even further, showing utility workers responding to a power outage alongside a story of parents introducing their newborn baby to their young daughter.
The "Better Together" themes of Tri-State's advertising campaign will also be a part of its annual meeting next week, according to the meeting schedule. At the same time, this year Tri-State moved to block the members of its "family" of co-ops from attending the Tri-State annual meeting.
At the annual meeting, member co-ops are expected to approve changes to Tri-State's bylaws.
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US Congressional Committee requests details of Tri-State funding to anti-Clean Air Act group
Renewable energy projects stalled in 2018 among Tri-State member co-ops
Second co-op asks Tri-State to pull “Better Together” ads
Tri-State won’t allow co-op members to attend annual meeting
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Tri-State ad campaign tells co-ops they’re “better together”
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Colorado state legislators urge Public Utilities Commission to determine Tri-State exit charge
United Power says Tri-State policies are turning away large customers
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United Power seeks solutions to "increasingly outmoded G&T business models"
Clean Energy Means Business Summit highlights renewable energy opportunities and challenges in rural Colorado
Governor-elect Jared Polis says moving Colorado toward more renewable energy will be a top priority
Electric cooperative officials discuss cheap renewable energy and an “eroding monopoly”
Delta Montrose Electric members vote for new financing options, supporting a potential buyout of Tri-State contract
Poudre Valley Electric requests Tri-State policy changes and fuel mix study
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Delta Montrose Electric seeks new financing options to end contract with Tri-State
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Senator Heinrich highlights “frustrations in New Mexico” with Tri-State’s limits on local solar
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Tri-State’s limits on local energy development are a growing problem for co-op members
Governor Hickenlooper discusses Tri-State at the Climate Leadership Conference
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New wind and solar power in Colorado is now cheaper than existing coal plants
Companies' 100% renewable energy goals are getting results in Colorado
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Colorado towns and cities are helping push utilities to embrace renewable energy
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