Dakota Energy opts to not continue lawsuit

HURON — Following the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denying Dakota Energy (DE) Cooperative the right to buy out of its contract with East River Electric Power, DE has decided to not seek further review of the decision and will end its lawsuit.

“We are disappointed that the ruling ties our hands and prevents us from finding ways to bring real cost savings to our members,” says Chase Binger, Dakota Energy board president. “But it is clear to the board that it is time to end the lawsuit. Dakota Energy will remain a full and active member of East River, and we sincerely hope that East River will find new ways to curb the cost of power and create customizable solutions for its member-owners.”

Since 2015, Dakota Energy has been looking for ways to curb the ever-increasing cost of power. Under its contract with East River, Dakota Energy is required to pay whatever rates East River charges. In the last 15 years, Dakota Energy customers have seen 12 rate increases and the cost of power double.  

In 2018 Dakota Energy decided to explore other options for purchasing cheaper power. The first step was to buy out of its existing contract, which is a right Dakota Energy believes it has. The buyout price was an important piece of information needed to calculate whether Dakota Energy’s members could save money in the long run. East River refused to provide that information. Therefore, in 2020, Dakota Energy sued East River to get that information and confirm its right to buy out of its contract. The federal court has ruled that no such right exists and that Dakota Energy members have no option to shop for lower power costs.