Dakota Energy Cooperative Moves to Protect Member-Owners

HURON, S.D. – Faced with consistent electric rate increases and seeking more local control, Dakota Energy Cooperative (Dakota Energy) today announced they filed a legal complaint to establish an equitable or fair exit fee to withdraw from East River.

“Dakota Energy has a fiduciary responsibility to our member-owners to review our contract; we have been involuntarily handed decisions by East River and Basin Electric that have resulted in 12 rate increases in the past 15 years, more than doubling what our member-owners were once paying,” said Chad Felderman, CEO/General Manager of Dakota Energy Cooperative. “We are asking only for a fair exit fee to leave East River so Dakota Energy can have the freedom and ability to determine our own energy future. We know there are better options to provide our member-owners with affordable and reliable power.”

Electricity prices under East River have been high and unpredictable. While market prices for electricity have decreased, Dakota Energy has sustained 12 rate increases from 2005 to 2019 under East River. These increases doubled what Dakota Energy was paying for power over a 15-year period, from 3.24 cents per kWh to 6.86 cents per kWh.

“Across America, the generation and transmission model is being challenged by the distribution cooperatives who own them. We want more flexibility and local control to help us manage and even reduce costs,” said Garry Dearborn, Dakota Energy Board President. “As the energy landscape continues to quickly change, we need to be able to plan for a future that truly benefits our member-owners. East River’s effort to imprison its own member-owners violates the bylaws and serves only to benefit those whose bad business decisions got us here in the first place.”

Our member-owners will be receiving more information directly from Dakota Energy soon.