Watertown, SD — Codington Clark Electric officials are crying foul over an agreement created between the coop and the city of Watertown back in 1990 that they say is giving the rural electric cooperative the short end of the stick when it comes to keeping and adding to their new customer base whenever the city annexes new properties into the city. Officials from Codington Clark Electric, including General Manager Dave Eide, met with the Watertown Municipal Utility Board Monday. Eide says a perpetual agreement currently in place cannot stand and that unless the city ends the agreement the cooperative will take steps to ensure it’s ended. Watertown Municipal Utility Department head Steve Lehner says the agreement was first agreed to in 1990 and has been amended over the years until made into a perpetual agreement several years ago, a move now highly disliked by Codington Clark Electric.
Now The Codington Clark Electric Board is asking the Watertown Utilities Department to end the agreement. However, the Utility Board has previously opted not to sign a resolution that would do that. Dave Eide, who heads Codington Clark Electric, says the current agreement is one-sided
Eide says their cooperative has been and is a good neighbor.
Utility Department head Steve Lehner says that ending the agreement may not be a wise thing to do for the city.
Of major concern to the utility board is a fear that, if the city ends the perpetual agreement with Codington Clark Electric, they wouldn’t have the ability to use low utility rates as a carrot to prospective new businesses coming to Watertown, a claim that Eide takes issue with.
Eide had this response when one of the Watertown Utility Board members asked him why the city should sign a resolution ending the perpetual agreement when doing so could jeopardize future jobs for the community.
Lehrner said he would put a group together to look at the numbers and the agreement. However, Eide said whatever comes of any new discussions that Codington Clark Electric is adamant about ending the current agreement.
Eide says Codington Clark is asking that the electric cooperative be treated just as any other electric cooperative in South Dakota that has a municipal utility with their service territory boundaries is treated. The Watertown Municipal Utility Board took no action. Codington Clark cooperative was formed after World War Two and serves all of the rural areas of Codington, Southwest Grant, Southeast Day and all of Clark Counties. They are governed by a nine-member board with 2,400 members and 3,400 active meters