To the Editor:
Three years ago, the Board of Directors of Dakota Energy started to recognize change in the electric industry and new market trends. Non-traditional generation entities were developing renewable energy generation projects in search of the tax credits these projects produce, some of them are in our area. Electricity was beginning to trade like a commodity.
Like other cooperatives, to participate in lower rates driven by all this change we had to be able to buy out of our power contract with East River.
Under threat from Basin Electric, East River refused to provide this number, fearing other cooperatives would follow Dakota Energy’s lead. Dakota Energy has always been out front: first to merge with another cooperative, first to leave RUS borrowing and go with private lending, now first to challenge the absolute monopolized power of East River and Basin Electric.
We chose to sue East River to get a fair and equitable buyout number so we could pursue cheaper and more reliable power off of the free market.
Recently, Federal Judge Lawrence Piersol dismissed that lawsuit filed by Dakota Energy Cooperative. Now the Board of Directors had 30 days to decide to roll over or continue to fight for our members.
After much deliberation with counsel, industry leaders and a recent show of unrestrained disdain towards our board from supporters of East River, we have decided to appeal by a unanimous vote.
The irony of it all is we had a couple directors ready to vote to stop the lawsuit and it is the anger and disrespect displayed toward this board by our invited quests that pushed those with doubts to vote in favor of the appeal.
Ironically in the end, the group East River helped organize to fight us is responsible for cementing Board support for the appeal.
Dakota Energy Board of Directors