Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Tres Amigas official: Late bill was oversight

Staff report

The chief financial officer for electric superstation Tres Amigas is telling Curry County the check is in the mail.

CFO and Senior Vice President Russell Stidolph said the county should get its past due $35,000 annual franchise fee today since he sent it Monday via Federal Express. Stidolph said Tres Amigas’ failure to pay the bill on time was a simple oversight.

“We are a startup pulling systems and a lot of other things together,” said Stidolph, “and sometimes things just get overlooked.”

County Manager Lance Pyle said the fee was due July 15. The county negotiated the fee with Tres Amigas a year ago.

The franchise fee is to compensate the county for right of way Tres Amigas will use in construction of its electric power distribution center northeast of Clovis. Tres Amigas, an ambitious $550 million startup, plans to connect the nation’s three major power grids and route excess power to other destinations.

Tres Amigas has missed several self-imposed groundbreaking deadlines and has blamed it on issues involving financing the project.

Stidolph on Monday declined to give a percentage estimate on the amount of financing obtained to begin the first phase of construction outside Clovis.

“We are trying to get to the finish line on that financing,” he said.

He also said he wasn’t going to offer a specific date for groundbreaking, adding, “We’re pretty confident that before year’s end we will be under construction.”