Community Volunteers Seek to Bring Cheaper, Cleaner Power to IREA
Volunteers are working to bring cheaper, cleaner power to residents living in the territory of Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) by supporting three candidates in this spring’s elections who seek to change IREA.
The electric co-op is the state’s largest, serving more than 154,000 customers spread across 5,000 square miles in parts of 10 counties to the east, west and south of Denver. Ballots will be mailed March 14 and must be returned by April 12.
The nonpartisan citizen effort to elect new leaders of the member-owned co-operative springs from an effort to bring savings to IREA members now that renewable energy has dropped in price dramatically. Solar energy is now half the cost of coal at IREA, but current leaders locked members in to $230 million in debt for a coal plant. Additionally, backers of the reform effort seek to bring more openness and transparency to the governance of the co-op.
Candidates backed by the Change IREA citizen volunteers are all business leaders with extensive technical expertise in matters that can help the utility navigate increasingly complex technical issues.
District 4- Middle and Northern Castle Rock, Franktown, the Pinery
Candidate: Michael Hays
Michael Hays has been an IT professional for more than 20 years and believes his experience with technical issues can assist IREA with saving money through automation of services.
Michael understands the complexity of offering services to rural areas. He works for a telecommunications company that has similar challenges in terms of offering services for home owners who do not live close to dense population centers. Like telecommunications, utilities need to work with government agencies to receive subsides for the cost of bringing services to rural areas. Michael can bring the same benefits of automation to IREA that he is already bringing to telecommunications in rural areas. For example, Michael believes that better automation for bill payment will save IREA and its customers money.
Michael also owns solar power at his home and would like to share his experiences with IREA Board of Directors members to help develop policies that encourage IREA to purchase renewable energy, especially since solar is now cheaper than coal.
Michael has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Science Degree in Business Information Systems from San Francisco State University. After working in California for a couple of years after finishing his education, Michael moved to Colorado with his family. After spending a couple of years in Highlands Ranch, Michael and his family moved to Castle Rock in 2000.
While Michael was working through his studies, he was an avid traveler around the globe on his bicycle. He rode around the world with his brother for eight months through the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Italy, and what was formally known as Yugoslavia. After that trip, Michael and his brother also cycled through East Africa for two months, visiting the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Michael has continued to take shorter bicycle trips in the U.S. over the past few years. TAKE ACTION NOW
District 6 – Southeast Aurora, Bennett, Strasburg, Byers, Deer Trail
Candidate: Jason Altshuler
Jason Altshuler has worked in the financial industry for more than 20 years, currently building and managing facilities for Westerra Credit Union. This experience with financing and managing major projects will be invaluable in handling IREA’s coal plant problem and this extraordinary period of change in the electricity industry. He is well-known for his abilities to effectively research, budget, and implement new technologies/processes that increase efficiencies and improve member experiences.
Jason is an established leader in the community, most recently serving as chairman as well as treasurer of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, after being a board member for five years. He was recognized by his peers with the 2010 Business for the Arts award and the 2016 Chamber Leadership award. He’s also served on the Piney Creek Homeowner Association’s architectural committee and the executive board for his temple.
He looks forward to applying his professional skills and years of service to improve every IREA customer’s experience. He would be honored by your consideration to serve on the IREA board. TAKE ACTION NOW
DISTRICT 2: Includes Southern Castle Rock, Sedalia, Conifer, Bailey
Candidate: Steve Roescher
Steve Roescher’s experience as a certified project professional and finance executive with the $95 billion conglomerate Siemens will be essential in leading IREA through a period of enormous change, as U.S. utilities switch from expensive coal plants to the now-cheaper alternative of solar and wind power.
His experience with the management and finance of more than $700 million worth of projects will be essential in helping IREA resolve its $320 million in debt on a coal plant that is too expensive to run. While Siemens’ business spans electrification, automation and digitalization, Steve’s career has been based at Siemens Mobility, which manufactures and sells light rail trains and locomotives. This has given him expertise in the rapidly improving technology of batteries used in the transit industry. That expertise will be helpful as IREA moves to make solar and wind reliable by storing power on utility-scale batteries.
Steve is proud that his long career in public and private service began with four years in the U.S. Air Force. He then worked for the San Antonio public transit agency for 11 years.
He moved to Siemens Mobility in 1997. Steve has directed large infrastructure projects and booked over $500 million in orders in his current role, the Director of Business Development. He also served as the Controller for the Siemens Customer Service Division with annual sales of over $75 million at the Siemens Mobility headquarters in Sacramento.
As a military dependent, Steve travelled the country with his family, which included a stop at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in the 1960s. Steve moved to Colorado in 2007 and plans to finish his career and retire here. Steve has a bachelor's degree in Business from Regents College in Albany, New York. He is active in the National Contract Management Association, American Public Transit Association, the Southwest Transit Association and is a past board member of National Community Streetcar Coalition.
Steve is passionate about the Colorado environment and is outdoors whenever possible. He is an avid camper, enjoys fishing, hiking, and anything to do with the great Colorado outdoors! TAKE ACTION NOW