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Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Files for Bankruptcy

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Brazos) recently filed bankruptcy in federal court in Houston, citing a disputed $1.8 billion bill from the state’s grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Brazos is one of dozens of electricity providers in Texas facing enormous charges stemming from severe cold snap last month. Unusually frigid temperatures knocked out...

Oklahoma Court Confirms Big Businesses Must Stick with Electric Cooperative

A large industrial Oklahoma cooperative customer brought suit seeking to add a well powered by Northwestern Electric Cooperative to an energy supply it receives from an investor-owned utility as a cost-saving measure. An Oklahoma Court confirmed the order of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission keeping the cooperative as the power provider.

Legal Alert: Patronage Capital Update

Retirement of patronage capital remains a heavily litigated topic. While federal court cases generally have ruled in favor of electric cooperatives, state court cases are somewhat divided. This update reports on a federal court of appeals decision and two recent state court opinions reaching different conclusions about a board’s authority and obligations with respect to patronage...

FERC Confirms UEC’s Authority to Build Transmission Line

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently ordered Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) to provide wholesale transmission service to a certain wind energy project, rejecting a protest by Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative that the action would encroach on its exclusive service territory. The proposed wind farm, located near Heppner, Oregon, would include up to 292...

Missouri Judge Vacates $130 Million Sho-Me Power Jury Verdict

A federal judge in Missouri has vacated a $130 million jury verdict against Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative. The plaintiffs in the case claimed that Sho-Me Power violated electric easements by using a fiber optic cable for commercial telecommunications purposes.

Environmentalists Urge D.C. Circuit to Decide Clean Power Plan Case

This past Thursday, August 3, 2017, certain environmental groups urged the D.C. Circuit to either decide the validity of the Clean Power Plan on its merits or terminate the case by remanding the case to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The environmental groups’ request stems from the D.C. Circuit’s decision in April to grant the EPA’s motion for a 60-day stay of the...

D.C. Circuit Pauses Litigation Over Clean Power Plan

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stay request regarding the Clean Power Plan and ordered the parties to file briefs by May 15 on whether the cases should be remanded to the EPA or just kept on hold.  Since President Trump’s executive order last month regarding “energy independence,” the EPA has asked for additional time to review the...

Superior Court Justice Upholds Verdict for Coop

A Maine Superior Court Justice upheld a November 2016 jury verdict awarding $13.6 million to Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative. This verdict was the result of a finding that First Wind Holdings LLC and four of its former subsidiaries breached their contractual obligation to negotiate in good faith a contract to sell a section of an electricity transmission line to Eastern Maine...

Eleventh Circuit Rules Co-op Members Are Not Entitled to Immediate Cash for Profits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed (subscription required) a case brought by members of the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC) against the central Alabama utility for distributing excess revenue by crediting the members’ capital accounts rather than making cash payments. The court found that Alabama law 37-6-20 does not require CAEC to distribute such...

Bluebonnet Electric Released from Liability Related to 2011 Wildfire

The Smithville school board members voted to release Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (Bluebonnet) for any liability related to the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire.  The fire was caused by trees that fell on Bluebonnet’s power lines during high winds in the middle of the driest 12-month period of any area in Texas’ history.  Dareld Morris, a school board trustee, acknowledged that the...

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