Letter in Dakota Energy’s Cooperative Connections Magazine Misrepresents East River Electric and Basin Electric
You may have recently received a letter, found in Dakota Energy’s center pages of the Cooperative Connections publication, from Andrew Serri, who very briefly served as Basin Electric’s CEO almost a decade ago. The letter misrepresents East River Electric Power Cooperative and Basin Electric and challenges the cooperative model, which has served our members in rural America for more than 70 years.
Because East River and Basin Electric are owned by you, our members, we want to be sure you receive honest and accurate information. The following are some clarifications about your electric cooperatives:
- East River and Basin Electric are strong cooperatives that adhere to the cooperative principles, including cooperation among cooperatives and democratic member control.
- Cooperatives are valuable and local, they serve their members as not-for-profits, keeping excess margins with their members (many of them right here in South Dakota) where they belong.
- The energy landscape is changing and your cooperatives, East River and Basin Electric, have been at the forefront of an evolving resource portfolio. For example, since 2000 Basin Electric has been capturing carbon – that was long before it was even in the news. In 2011, East River and Basin Electric established the first and still the largest cooperative-owned wind project right here in central South Dakota.
- Your cooperatives ensure reliability by maintaining an all-of-the-above energy strategy that serves its membership with coal, natural gas, diesel, wind, and soon, solar (right here in South Dakota) to ensure reliability at all times.
- East River and Basin Electric own generation resources and transmission in South Dakota and operate and maintain these resources with people who live and work in South Dakota.
In 2021 alone, Basin Electric returned $64.5 million back to its members through bill credits and patronage retirements – $9 million of that went to East River. In turn, between May 2021 and February 2022, East River is projected to return more than $17,000,000 to its members. Since, the year 2000, Basin Electric has returned $817.2 million to its membership via patronage, capital credit retirements, bill credits and power costs adjustments.
East River Electric Power Cooperative