Montana power co-op trustee fights $46M claim


POSTED: 12:07 PM Apr 22 2013   UPDATED: 12:36 PM Apr 22 2013
court gavel

The trustee for a bankrupt Montana power cooperative is challenging a claim for $46 million from banks that financed a little-used natural gas power plant near Great Falls.

The outcome could impact electricity rates for thousands of customers in central and southern Montana served by members of Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative.

U.S. Bank National Association is seeking the $46 million to cover lost proceeds on a loan Southern Montana used to build the Highwood Generating Station.

Southern Montana trustee Lee Freeman says in court papers filed Friday that the request is exorbitant and should be rejected.

The Highwood plant cost $85 million and has seen minimal use, helping drive Southern Montana into bankruptcy. Freeman says in court documents that it's now worth only $5.6 million.