HELENA, Mont. —
HELENA, Mont. (AP) – The bankruptcy trustee for Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission said Friday a reorganization plan is coming soon for the cooperative’s beleaguered power plant.
SME filed for bankruptcy protection last year after building the $85 million Highwood Generating Station near Great Falls and entering into contracts for energy at expensive rates. Southern was in the process of borrowing up to $215 million to expand the plant when it went bankrupt.
An attorney for the court-appointed trustee now running the company said he can’t specify any details until the bankruptcy court releases it. Denver attorney John Parks said they are working with “more than a few and less than a dozen” offers to restructure the organization in some fashion.
He said trustee Lee Freeman hopes to have a proposal to release by Oct. 15.
Public Service Commission Chairman Travis Kavulla said he is closely watching the case, even though law does not give his organization authority over such electric co-op issues.
He said he is concerned the individual members of the electricity cooperative may end up paying the price for the bad decisions by Southern managers and lenders. The cost to run the plant exceeds the open-market price of electricity, Kavulla said.
“The worst-case scenario, you are talking tens of thousands of dollars of liability per customer for an
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