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2011 News Articles

Following are news articles from 2011 regarding the Beartooth Electric. Please click on the file name to view.

Beartooth co-op schedules special recall meeting
Dec 30, 2011- Billings Gazette
Two Beartooth Electric Cooperative trustees who have been targeted by a recall effort will have to decide next week whether to fight for their seats or resign from the board.

Creditors stay on in SME bankruptcy
Dec 21, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Co-ops Tongue River Electric, Mid-Yellowstone Electric and Fergus Electric in a Dec. 14 motion objected to PSC intervention, saying it would cause "undue delay" and arguing the state of Montana "would not approve rate changes in Southern's plan of reorganization and would not have jurisdiction as a regulatory agency over its activities prior to a plan of reorganization."
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern will continue to receive power
Dec 20, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative will continue receiving power to supply its members under agreements presented Tuesday in bankruptcy court.

Great Falls Commission discusses Friday's SME meeting
Dec 06, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
[...] the co-op had $7.2 million in operating losses on June 30, even before any city customers declined to renew contracts or broke their contracts in midstream.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Former Southern manager blames bankruptcy on board dissent, Great Falls
Dec 02, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The former manager of the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative on Friday blamed others for the co-op’s bankruptcy, telling a courtroom of creditors Friday that the mess could have been avoided if it had been able to restructure its main power supply contract.

Gregori to testify on bankruptcy
Dec 02, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
The top secured creditor of SME is Prudential financial, which financed $75 million of the co-op's natural gas-fired power plant east of Great Falls.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

BEC gives update on bankruptcy 
Dec 01, 2011 – Carbon County News
On Monday, Nov. 28, the law firm of Felt, Martin, Frazier and Weldon, P.C., attorneys for the Board of Trustees for Beartooth Electric Coop (BEC), met with the board and members to report on the bankruptcy of Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. (“Southern”).

Southern's former manager to appear at bankruptcy creditors' meeting
Dec 01, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The former general manager of Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation Cooperative will attend a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting in Billings on Friday to answer questions under oath.

Beartooth co-op members seek forensic audit of Southern
Nov 29, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Some members of Beartooth Electric Cooperative are calling for the bankruptcy trustee for Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative to conduct a forensic audit of the troubled wholesale power supplier.

Questions and answers about Southern Montana Electric
Nov 29, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Q. What is Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative?

Bankruptcy judge approves trustee, interim power supply for Southern
Nov 21, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Power will continue flowing to Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative for the wholesaler to sell to its members under agreements approved Monday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirscher.

Beartooth Electric Cooperative ponders exposure, implications of Southern bankruptcy
Nov 22, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Ron Roodell, general manager of the Red Lodge-based Beartooth Electric Cooperative, was guesstimating when he budgeted $250,000 for the co-op’s legal costs next year.

SME power contract revealed
Nov 19, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
City Attorney James Santoro said three issues to be discussed at Monday's hearing include: >> Whether a trustee should be appointed to run SME, a move now supported by its board. >> Whether utilities providing service to SME, including PPL and the Western Area Power Administration, should be required to continue to serve the rural co-op, despite the bankruptcy. >> Whether cash collateral should be posted to satisfy Prudential, the lender for the $85 million Highwood Generating Station east of Great Falls.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern Montana Electric seats Beartooth member; rescinds rate hike
Nov 17, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative reversed two unpopular decisions and endorsed its controversial bankruptcy filing during a special meeting in Billings on Thursday.

Southern seeking court order to continue power service
Nov 11, 2011- Billings Gazette
Attorneys for Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative are asking a bankruptcy judge to prohibit its power suppliers from changing or stopping service while it attempts to reorganize.

Southern cooperative leadership up in the air
Nov 10, 2011- Billings Gazette
Leadership of the bankrupt Southern Montana Electric Transmission & Generation Cooperative remains up in the air after Tuesday's surprise retirement of chief executive Tim Gregori.

Southern Montana general manager Gregori retires
Nov 09, 2011- Billings Gazette
Tim Gregori, the general manager of the Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation Cooperative, retired abruptly Tuesday from the troubled wholesale power supplier that recently filed for bankruptcy.

City utility rejects co-op's 'illegal' rate hike
Nov 08, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
The city of Great Falls commission members met Monday night as the Electric City Power Board and rejected as illegal a 20 percent rate hike approved Oct. 21 by the city's wholesale electricity supplier.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern details financial problems in latest bankruptcy records
Nov 07, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative says it's about $21.4 million in the red in recent bankruptcy records that provide a comprehensive look at its financial problems.

Electric City Power meets on SME tonight
Nov 07, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
The city power arm's wholesale power supplier, Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, seeking to reorganize as its liabilities exceeded its assets by more than $20 million.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Yellowstone Valley Electric rejects wholesale rate hike
Oct 31, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative on Monday rejected a 20 percent rate boost from its power supplier.

Creditors lining up in Southern Montana Electric's bankruptcy
Oct 28, 2011- Billings Gazette
Creditors in the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission bankruptcy case are hiring attorneys as the Billings-based wholesale cooperative begins what could be a long, contentious and complicated effort to pay its bills.

Beartooth Electric delays decision on rate increase, plans to hire lawyer
Oct 28, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Trustees of Beartooth Electric Co-op on Friday postponed decisions on a rate increase and a recall petition as they scramble to line up legal counsel.

Beartooth Electric Coop to fight Southern over refusal to seat member
Oct 24, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Beartooth Electric Cooperative officials said Monday the co-op will fight Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation’s refusal last week to seat its new representative on the board, calling the move illegal.

Southern Montana Electric files for bankruptcy
Oct 22, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission, a Billings-based wholesale power seller, filed for bankruptcy late Friday afternoon, saying it was having an "acute cash-flow crisis."

Southern board refuses to seat new Beartooth co-op member, prompting walkout
Oct 21, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Three members of the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission cooperative walked out of a board meeting in Billings on Friday to protest the board's refusal to accept a new representative from the Beartooth Electric Cooperative.

Beartooth co-op sends message to Southern
Oct 12, 2011 – Billings Gazette
During a special board meeting Wednesday afternoon in Red Lodge, trustees of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative put the brakes on the co-op’s support for Phase II of the Highwood Generating Station in Great Falls. 

Beartooth Electric board to consider recall petitions
Sep 27, 2011 – Billings Gazette
While Beartooth Electric Cooperative members ousted three incumbent trustees at its annual meeting last Saturday, the fate of two other trustees facing a recall petition is expected to be decided soon.

Beartooth co-op members elect 'reform' candidates, overwhelmingly support vote by mail
Sep 24, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Members of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative opted for change during their annual meeting Saturday at Roberts High School.

Beartooth Co-op members to vote on trustees, bylaw changes
Sep 20, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Big changes may be in the wind as members of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative attend their annual meeting this Saturday.

Highwood Generating Station ribbon cutting today
Sep 15, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
The six-member co-op proposed building a coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op says no to power charges 
August 6, 2011- Billings Gazette
Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative is refusing to pay its share of recent rate increases and special fees imposed by its wholesale supplier.

Public Service Commision chairman criticizes Southern Montana Electric
Aug 03, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Travis Kavulla, chair of the Montana Public Service Commission, has no authority over electric cooperatives in Montana.

Rate increase could erase ECP debt in 20 years
Aug 03, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Customers can expect to pay a base charge the city will pass through from its wholesale electricity supplier, the Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative based in Billings, plus a $3.50 per month per megawatt hour administrative charge.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

ECP utility may raise rates
Aug 02, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
According to the letter, city officials will "have our attorney take necessary action" to ensure the contracts are followed, a grim-faced City Manager Greg Doyon said at the meeting.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Beartooth Electric members launch effort to replace trustees
Jul 20, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Dissatisfied with decisions by the Beartooth Electric Cooperative board, a group of members is launching a drive to remove or replace a majority of the trustees.

PSC Chairman Kavulla subpoened in co-op lawsuit
Jul 16, 2011- Billings Gazette
Montana Public Service Commission Chairman Travis Kavulla, an outspoken critic of Great Falls’ electric utility and its cooperative supplier, has been subpoenaed in a lawsuit between the two entities.

SME raises debt limit
Jun 29, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
In a meeting that lasted less than 30 minutes, Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative board members voted 4-2 Tuesday morning to raise the group's borrowing limit from $150 million to $300 million. Kelsey argued members needed details about the total costs of the power plant, Southern Montana's contract with PPL Montana that runs through 2019, losses of power contracts in Great Falls and resale of power by Southern Montana in light of market conditions through 2030.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern approves $300 million limit for power plant on split vote
Jun 28, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission board on Tuesday approved doubling its funding limit to $300 million to complete a natural gas power plant under construction near Great Falls.

SME co-op's Gregori fires back at critic of electricity deals
Jun 28, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Holzer in a Monday Tribune story criticized Southern Montana on several fronts, including not refiguring its members' load requirements after the group switched its fuel from coal to natural gas for a power plant project east of Great Falls. Gregori's comments came as six co-op members were to meet in Billings at 9 a.m. today to vote on whether to raise the group's borrowing limit to $300 million to help it build Phase 2 of the Highwood Generating Station.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Highwood's Phase 2 on the line
Jun 27, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Co-op officials negotiated the contract after deciding not to build a coal-fired power plant near Great Falls, but to instead construct the natural gas-fired plant.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Beartooth Electric Co-op board gives vote of confidence to Highwood
Jun 24, 2011 – Billings Gazette
In a split vote, trustees of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative passed a resolution Friday authorizing an increase in the funding limit — from $150 million to $300 million — for the Highwood Generating Station in Great Falls.

Beartooth Electric co-op members call for financing scrutiny
Jun 20, 2011- Billings Gazette
A group of Beartooth Electric Cooperative members is questioning whether its board is making good financial decisions in the wake of a series of rate increases and plans for a gas-fired power plant near Great Falls.

SME blames ECP for 4.2 percent rate increase
Jun 18, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
The city's wholesale electricity supplier on Friday voted to hike its power rates by 4.2 percent, and blamed the city of Great Falls' electric utility, Electric City Power, for the increase.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Great Falls city officials respond to fleeing utility customers
Jun 18, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Santoro said the refinery's contract with the city runs through June 2022. "[...] at this time, we cannot accept your notice of termination," he wrote. >> Barretts Minerals tried a different approach, claiming its contract with the city provides for level prices "through the entire term of the contract" through 2042, wrote attorney Georgia Kakouros.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern Montana Electric approves another rate hike
Jun 17, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Two months after passing a rate hike, the Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation Cooperative on Friday approved another increase in wholesale rates to its members.

City charges self more for power
Jun 08, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
None of the city's 16 other regular electricity customers agreed to a voluntary rate increase to assist money-losing Electric City Power, including the Great Falls Housing Authority, an independent housing arm of city government.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Electric City Power to raise rates
Jun 07, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Doyon also said the city has asked those customers to be patient until a state district judge rules on whether the city has valid electricity contracts.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

City fires back at SME in court
Jun 01, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Weeks ago, Christopher Edwards, a Billings attorney for Southern Montana Generation and Transmission Cooperative, called the city of Great Falls' management of its electric utility arm "inept," and urged a District Court judge to appoint a receiver for Electric City Power.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Kavulla says Great Falls should make power customers honor contracts
May 29, 2011 – Great Fall Tribune
The Public Service Commission has little regulatory authority over Electric City Power, except to make sure the utility buys state-mandated renewable energy credits each year.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Great Falls wants energy clause for Electric City Power waived
May 21, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Santoro also wrote that the city has been generating electricity at its wastewater treatment plant through a co-generating facility, using some of the energy created by plant processes to make power.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern cooperative contracts with new power supply company
May 20, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative reached a deal on Friday to sell electricity to a new power supply company that is in talks with potential customers in Great Falls.

Latest rate increase by power supplier angers Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op
May 19, 2011 – Billings Gazette

Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative's general manager is livid over the latest rate increase approved last month by its power supplier.

New power supply company formed
May 11, 2011 – Billings Gazette
If all goes as planned, a new power-supply company could not only pick up some customers served by the city of Great Falls’ utility but also could buy wholesale power from a Billings-based cooperative.

PSC may fine city electric utility
Apr 29, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Under state law, public utilities and competitive electricity suppliers are required to obtain at least 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar farms, or buy equivalent credits, and then submit annual reports to demonstrate they complied.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

SME hikes rates
Apr 26, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Great Falls City Manager Greg Doyon said Monday a 4.5 percent rate increase by the city's wholesale electric power supplier this month spells additional trouble for the city.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern Montana Electric approves rate increase
Apr 22, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative on Friday approved a wholesale rate increase for its co-op members.

ECP reports more loss
Apr 21, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Amid this sense of a falling house of cards, city commissioners sitting as the power board voted to stop paying Southern Montana a $650,000 payment before Southern Montana's bill reaches the city each month.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

SME responds to Electric City Power lawsuit
Mar 30, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
"ECP's own management failures and self-induced frustration do not justify nonperformance of the wholesale power supply contract with Southern, because the contract isn't just 'about them.'" It also stated that other members of Southern Montana have relied on the city's membership in the group, and said members expect the city to honor its contract.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op on track for November trial of lawsuit
March 23, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op is preparing for a November trial in its efforts to leave Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative.

City aims to quit power group Friday
Mar 16, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Tim Gregori, Southern Montana's general manager, suggested he may be able to recommend an existing Montana electricity supplier not a rural electric co-op that could assume the contracts with the city's customers, which include businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

City to discuss exit strategy with electricity supplier SME
Mar 14, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Santoro's letter stated that city officials were frustrated by Southern Montana's reluctance to provide the city with documents Santoro said it needs to set appropriate rates for the city's money-losing electric utility arm, Electric City Power.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

City sends Southern Montana Co-op break-up request
Mar 02, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Closed portions of Southern Montana board meetings and a lack of access to documents have complicated attempts by Great Falls officials to bring the city's electric utility arm out of debt.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

City utility may ask costumers for voluntary rate hike today
Mar 01, 2011 – Great Falls Tribune
Williams said breaking even would require increases of 8.66 percent for the city's early customers, including the city itself, Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls Housing Authority, Great Falls International Airport Authority, Federal Express, the Montana Air National Guard and Veolia, a company that runs the city's wastewater treatment plant.
(Abstract only available – must pay for full article)

Southern's annual meeting to remain closed to public
Feb 18, 2011 – Billings Gazette
Next month's annual meeting of Southern Montana Electric will remain closed to the public, according to an informal decision made Friday during the board's February meeting.

Southern Montana Electric board bickers as Highwood project progresses
Jan 22, 2011 – Billings Gazette
The first stage of the Highwood Generation Station project is drawing closer to completion, but the gas-fired power plant located outside Great Falls and matters related to it continue to divide members of Southern Montana Electric, which is building the facility.

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