Sheridan Elec. Coop, Inc. v. MT-Dak Utils.Annotate this Case
In 2011, Cahill Seeds, Inc. (Cahill) began planning the construction of a new seed washing plant and submitted requests for electric service to Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) and Sheridan Electric Co-op, Inc. MDU subsequently upgraded its transmission and distribution systems near Cahill, which allowed MDU to provide three-phase Wye power to Cahill. MDU then began providing three-way Wye power to Cahill. In 2013, Sheridan filed a complaint alleging that MDU violated the Montana Territorial Integrity Act (MTIA) when it extended power to Cahill. The district court found that Sheridan had the right to serve Cahill under the priority provisions of the MTIA. Specifically, the court found that the 1.33 mile distance from Sheridan’s three-phase Wye transmission line to Cahill gave Sheridan priority over MDU, whose three-phase Wye line was 6.5 miles away. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mont. Code Ann. 69-5-105(1) unambiguously granted priority to Sheridan because it had the line nearest to Cahill and the distribution system capacity to serve Cahill.