Great Falls to leave co-op building plant

GREAT FALLS, MONTANA - The city of Great Falls is asking to leave a Billings-based electric cooperative that is building a natural gas-fired power plant north of Great Falls.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the city sent a letter to the Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative requesting "to be relieved of any and all obligations that exist with Southern." Electric City Power, the city's utility arm, hopes to reach an agreement by March 18 and avoid litigation.

City attorney James Santoro says SME has closed portions of its board meetings and won't let the city see a contract that would help it set appropriate rates for its customers. ECP has lost money for years.

The largest member of the six-member co-op, Yellowstone Valley Electric, has filed a lawsuit to leave SME.


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