February 19, 2020

McKenzie Electric sues Basin Electric over high electric rates

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Claiming that its more than 4,400 members are paying too high electric rates due to financial problems associated with Basin Electric’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant (DGC), Watford City-based McKenzie Electric has filed a lawsuit against Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the Upper Missouri G. & T. Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Northwest District Court.
The cooperative, in its lawsuit, is contending that over the past six years, Basin has lost $600 million or more from its unreasonable and imprudent operation of the for-profit synthetic fuels plant, which in turn has increased electric costs to its members and customers.
“By charging inflated rates to pay off the DGC’s imprudent losses, Basin is both violating North Dakota law and breaching its contractual agreements with member cooperatives,” wrote the cooperative’s attorneys in their complaint.
To cover the losses associated with the DGC, the complaint notes that Basin was forced to raise its wholesale power supply rates by 22 percent in 2016 to Upper Missouri G. & T., which supplies electricity to McKenzie Electric.

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