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.
BEC President Roxie Melton said Beartooth also considers subsequent actions by Southern’s board — filing for bankruptcy and immediately hiking wholesale power rates 20 percent to its members — to be invalid.
The Red Lodge-based rural co-op board decided in a 15-minute telephone conference Monday to hire an attorney after being shut out of the six-member Southern board on Friday, Melton said.
“We have issues that are complicated and far-reaching and we need sound and competent advice,” Melton said.
Some of Southern’s other co-op members also held special meetings Monday to consider their options in the wake of Friday’s chaotic meeting. The bankruptcy filing and rate increase came as a surprise to board members who protested the meeting.