Colorado Co-op Has Paid Lawyers Millions to Pursue Exit from Wholesale Power Co-op
How much will Dakota members pay?
La Plata Electric Association, an electric co-op based in Durango, Colorado, has spent nearly $1.7 million dollars to pursue an exit from its cooperative power supplier—with no end in sight—according to media reports and the cooperative’s website.
La Plata’s own website details the staggering numbers:
Legal costs to pursue a potential exit from Tri-State are as follows:
- 2018: $18,327
- 2019: $378,141
- 2020 (as of Oct.): $1.3 million
Almost $1.7 million—to attorneys. LaPlata reports this does not include employees’ time spent on the project as they are salaried.
Back here in South Dakota, Dakota Energy has filed a lawsuit to obtain a buyout number to leave its long-term wholesale power contract with its trusted cooperative power supplier, East River Electric, and instead buy power from an out-of-state, for-profit power marketer, Guzman Energy.
The La Plata example is raising lots of questions about Dakota’s lawsuit against East River and plans to buy power from Guzman, such as:
- How much will Dakota Energy spend on lawyers in an attempt to break its contract with East River? Is this a good use of members’ money?
- How many years will the case(s) and appeal(s) last?
- Why didn’t the Dakota Energy board and management ask the membership first before filing the lawsuit?