If you care about clean energy and think utilities are boring, think again. Utilities play a key role in the fight against climate change. As much as 70 percent of Pitkin County’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy used in homes and businesses. And at present, 53 percent of the energy provided by the valley’s largest electric utility — Holy Cross Energy — comes from coal. That’s why a utility’s decisions around clean energy and energy efficiency matter.

Luckily, there’s a direct line to influence those decisions in your mailbox. All Holy Cross Energy customers have received a ballot for the annual Board of Directors election. This group of seven board members shapes the policies and influences the direction of the utility, from setting their new seventy70thirty plan to overseeing renewable energy and energy efficiency incentive programs to ensuring reliable and affordable power.

Holy Cross is a rural electric cooperative; it’s their customers instead of shareholders that have a say in running the company. This unique way of doing things means that customers and community values are front and center, not profits. One of the main ways the utility learns what’s important to its customers is through the Board elections. If you want clean and cheap power, and energy-efficiency programs, vote for green candidates. Now’s your chance; four candidates are currently vying for one open seat in the Northern District.

CORE values clean air, a stable climate, and a strong economy, so we support the candidates that share those values. “A climate-forward board could spur even greater climate and energy strides for the already innovative utility,” says CORE’s executive director, Mona Newton. This election has long-lasting impacts for clean energy and progressive climate action.

Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company’s vice president of sustainability, agrees. He believes this is one of the highest impact solutions: “Opportunities to make a meaningful difference on climate, at big scale, are rare. Getting your local utility to 100% clean power is one, and one candidate in particular, Larissa Read, has been making this happen and deserves your vote” says Auden. This is one of the easiest ways to take action.

Of the 43,300 Holy Cross customers (representing 60,000 meters), some 2,400 turned in ballots in the last election. That turnout rate means you can have outsized influence in the outcome. And it just takes minutes: check the boxes, put your ballot in the pre-paid envelope and drop it in the mail. Voting in the Holy Cross Energy election is one of the easiest ways you can take a stand. As Holy Cross’ slogan reminds us, “the power is in your hands.”

Learn about the four candidates vying for one open seat in the Northern District. For your vote to count, Holy Cross Energy must receive your ballot by June 5th at 5pm or you may vote in-person at Holy Cross’ Annual Meeting on June 6th. The picnic, themed “Around the World in 80 Days” in celebration of the utility’s 80th anniversary, will feature live music from Valle Músico and food from around the world. While it’s free for all Holy Cross customers, they ask that you RSVP.