PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — U.S. District Judge Larry Piersol says Dakota Energy Cooperative cannot break the wholesale power contract it has with East River Electric Power Cooperative.
The judge released the decision Monday. Huron-based Dakota Energy wanted to get out of the deal so it could buy power elsewhere.
East River Electric’s general manager and chief executive officer Tom Boyko called the ruling “a major victory for all electric cooperative member-owners across the state of South Dakota.”
Wrote Judge Piersol, “The WPC (wholesale power contract) obligates Dakota Energy to purchase all its power from East River through December 31, 2075. The WPC and the Bylaws do not allow Dakota Energy to buy out of and terminate the WPC prior to the end of that term.”
East River, based in Madison, is a major supplier of wholesale electricity to rural cooperatives.
Said Boyko in a statement, “A contract is a contract and Judge Piersol’s ruling is clear that the contract does not allow for an early termination. It affirms what we’ve been saying all along, Dakota Energy can’t just walk away from the commitment it made to its neighboring cooperatives.”