Legislative Committee Working On Annexing Electric Service Territory Issues Find Compromise

(WNAX) — A legislative committee dealing with electric service territories came up with a compromise that both sides will continue negotiating. Rural electric cooperatives have been complaining when municipal electrics take over service when their city expands. Senator Alan Solano of Rapid City, Chairman of the “Electric Services in an Annexed Area” committee says they need some type of agreeable framework…

“The problem I see now is, if we don’t have something that is at least work that the both sides can work on, together, on dealing with some of these issues; if we don’t have something that comes out of this Committee that…that each side feels like they can work on and, and we can still mold this thing then we’re just back to…you know quite frankly I’d tell people, go back to your corners and come out swinging.”

Solano says their proposal could set the stage for legislation in 2020…

“If we want to do another meeting and keep hammering this out, we can do that. What we can make for a recommendation to, I believe, to the Executive Board is that this creates a boiler plate that is in need of, of answering and we can line this out in our report that is in need of answering these things if it’s gonna continue though on to session.”

The compromise would involve the PUC in settling service area disputes. Senator Susan Wismer of Britton says this is probably the best deal they can come up with…

“We’ve heard a lot of big talk today about blood baths and unhappy legislators and, and puzzlement as to whether or not they even understand that there is an issue and yet, all of the other alternatives have been turned down.”

The compromise passed the committee on an eight to one vote.