I was not surprised at the Beartooth Electric rate increase this past month, given that it was discussed at the annual 2008 (and touched on in the 2007) membership meeting. I was surprised at the amount of the rate increase.
I do not fault the board's decision for the rate hike, rather I fault the environmental groups that opposed the project to delay the process that cost the Highwood Project precious time (which resulted in financing delays) and money (which manifested as a rate increase). I also fault Montana's DEQ for being manipulated by various environmental groups.
Buying electricity on the spot market can be very costly, does not allow for stability with costs and does not allow flexibility with energy suppliers. With the impending loss of energy supply contracts in the coming years (some by BPA), the board needed to act in the best interest of the membership and pursued the Highwood project in partnership with other co-ops.
The Highwood generator allows the co-ops the freedom to control costs to their membership well into the future.
It's unfair that the Montana membership has an added burden of dishonesty by Wyoming's political process to steal from the Montana co-op membership and not allow fair distribution of costs across all the membership. Our elected senators and representative should be assisting to solve this issues. Shouldn't Wyoming's members pay their fair share, given they will reap the benefits of the Highwood project's fruits?