BEC in negotiations with parties

Mum’s the word on the ongoing settlement talks between creditors and debtors in the Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation Cooperative, Inc. (Southern) bankruptcy. The discussions are not binding but the impression is they are generally very determined and sincere.

“They are extremely complex. We’ve gone to 4 a.m. the other day,” reported Southern and Beartooth Electric Co-op (BEC) Board member, Arleen Boyd at the Friday, Jan. 24, board meeting at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation building.

It was noted that the discussions are confidential and there would be no mention of progress or content. It was reported that both Southern and BEC were participating.

Boyd also noted, “It’s not going to be an easy set of decisions for the board. There are opportunities, costs, risks to each path and the likelihood of success and costs must be discussed.” The board has to weigh the merits of taking a more successful but less beneficial path vs. a less successful likelihood of outcome with a more beneficial stance. She said it was “not all talk”; the board had serious evaluations to make during all of this process. No time or length of the process could even be estimated.

She added, “Southern, particularly in settlement discussions, as are all parties, must be clear in dovetailing its concerns with members’ concerns. We’ve had meetings at length and discuss legal alternatives. Whatever goes forward, whether it’s the motion to convert to a Chapter 7 liquidation or a settlement, it will involve Southern and especially BEC.”

Boyd confirmed that the court is sticking by the Feb. 25 date so far in regards to the next date for possible hearing of a number of issues including primary secured creditor Prudential Financial Services’ (Prudential) Motion to Dismiss the BEC complaint. The BEC complaint argues against Prudential using contracts as collateral for debts which could that commit BEC members to unlimited rate increase potential.