October 20, 2020

McKenzie Electric wins first step in rate lawsuit

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

McKenzie Electric Cooperative (McKenzie Electric) has won the first round in its lawsuit against Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin) and Upper Missouri Power Cooperative (Upper Missouri).
On Sept. 8, 2020, North Dakota District Court Judge Daniel S. El-Dweek rejected the motions to dismiss that had been submitted by Basin and Upper Missouri. Basin Electric subsequently filed a motion to reconsider, which will be heard by El-Dweek on Nov. 15. If El-Dweek, denies that motion, the case will proceed to the discovery phase.
In its lawsuit, McKenzie Electric is 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).
McKenzie Electric is contending that its members had to pay higher rates due to $919,700,000 in losses suffered by DGC between 2015 and July of 2020, as well as ongoing imprudent investments in a urea facility at DGC. In addition, McKenzie Electric says that DGC is projected to lose money for the next 10 years with more than $1.5 billion in total losses by 2030.

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