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Our opinion: Bankruptcy plan lacks fairness

Great Falls Tribune Editorial

A decade ago, six entities — five electric cooperatives and the city of Great Falls — weighed the risk of a new business venture, a vertically integrated wholesale electric generation and supply venture, against the goal of creating a stable-priced supply of energy for their members and citizens.

They took the risk, joined forces to create Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, and lost. The bankrupt venture will cost all those involved millions. Every city of Great Falls property owner and citizen is paying for the loss, as are all the members of each of the electric co-ops involved. For those who pay the utility NorthWestern Energy to deliver electricity and are not aware of how a cooperative works, members are basically the ratepayers of a co-op, but they share in any profit or loss.

Mid-Yellowstone Electric Cooperative is based in Hysham and serves 720 members in Big Horn, Custer, Rosebud and Treasure counties.

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