SD legislative committee approves compromise on electric service territory dispute

 

November 7, 2019

 

PIERRE, S.D.–South Dakota’s electric cooperatives are applauding an interim legislative committee for supporting a framework for a compromise which has the potential to bring solutions to electric service territory disputes.

 

An exception in current state law allows the 35 municipal electric systems in South Dakota, including the one in Watertown, to take territory in newly annexed areas from electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities.

 

That exception has been the focus of a nine-member legislative committee that’s been studying the issue for the past five months.

 

The framework of the compromise that was adopted on an 8-1 vote Wednesday, would require regular meetings and good faith negotiations between all utilities involved in electric service territory boundaries in newly annexed areas.

 

The compromise framework further states that if the utilities cannot negotiate an agreement as to who will serve the newly annexed areas, the Public Utilities Commission would settle the dispute.