Plenty of candidates for utility board election | VailDaily.com

Plenty of candidates for utility board election

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – People counting votes in this year’s election for two members of the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors will have a lot of sorting to do.

Nine people are running for two seats, one representing much of Garfield County, and Redstone, the other representing the Eagle Valley.

Incumbent Lynn Dwyer is seeking another three-year term representing the western district. She’s being challenged by Clem Kopf of Glenwood Springs, Tom McBrayer of Carbondale and Randy Udall of Carbondale.

Current board member George Shaeffer is leaving after three terms. Running to replace him are Dan Corcoran of Eagle, Megan Gilman of Minturn, Erik Lundquist of Gypsum, Arn Menconi of Vail and Scott Prince of Avon.

Board member and valley resident Adam Palmer said the relative flood of candidates has surprised just about everyone at Holy Cross.

“In the past, seats have been uncontested a lot of the time,” Palmer said. “I don’t know why there’s so much interest this time.”

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Corcoran – who has spent much of his adult life in the county – said the flood of candidates surprised him, too.

“I always thought that if you had two or three candidates it was a pretty good year,” he said.

Jen Schenk of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability guessed that the interest this year might be due to an increased awareness of an interest in energy issues.

But that interest by candidates might not equate to votes. Palmer said last year’s election drew votes from about 8 percent of Holy Cross customers.

“The biggest challenge is to have people not throw out their ballots,” Schenk said. “But people should know who’s in charge at Holy Cross.”

Palmer said the utility company is working on a few projects right now, including a study about how to increase efficiency by its customers. Holy Cross is also working with local governments and the Eagle Valley Alliance on “energy smart” projects that could help both residential and business customers cut down on their bills.

“It’s kind of odd that we’re working on things that will reduce demand for what we sell,” Palmer said.

The company – actually a member-owned cooperative – is also working on ways to get at least 20 percent of its power from alternative sources by 2015.

“Holy Cross seems to be a pretty progressive utility – they seem to be responsive to members’ needs,” Schenk said.

The Alliance plans to send out information about all the candidates soon, and biographies of candidates will be on the Holy Cross Website. Profiles of all the candidates will be published in the Vail Daily starting next week.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.