A major utility in the U.S. state of Washington, Grant County public utility district, and its commissioners are facing a lawsuit filed by nine cryptocurrency firms. The suit alleges that they “acted inappropriately in creating and approving a new rate that raises electricity costs” for cryptocurrency miners.
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Grant County public utility district (Grant PUD) in Washington state has revealed that nine cryptocurrency firms have filed a lawsuit against it and its commissioners relating to the increased electricity costs imposed on them for mining cryptocurrencies.
At a meeting which took place on Jan. 8, the commissioners agreed that “Grant PUD would cover the cost of legal defense for commissioners Tom Flint, Dale Walker and Larry Schaapman, as well as former commissioners Terry Brewer and Bob Bernd, and 10 PUD employees,” the meeting note reads, adding:
All are co-defendants in a suit filed against Grant PUD in U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington by nine cryptocurrency-related firms who allege Grant PUD, its commissioners and some employees acted inappropriately in creating and approving a new rate that raises electricity costs for them and other new ‘evolving industry’ customers.
Grant PUD serves over 50,510 customers throughout the county, its website claims. According to Ifiberone publication, the utility released a statement about the lawsuit on Thursday. “We are aware of the litigation and plan to file a response to the notice of complaint in federal court before the end of the month.”
Higher Rates for Crypto Miners
Starting on April 1, cryptocurrency miners will have to pay “the first of a three-year, graduated increase to a new, above-cost electric rate designed to protect Grant PUD from risk and preserve below-cost rates for core customers,” the utility explained.
The commissioners of Grant PUD unanimously approved “the new Rate 17 for evolving industries” on Aug. 28, the utility announced at the time. Noting that currently “all Grant PUD customers in the evolving-industry profile are miners of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin,” the PUD detailed:
Rate 17 customers will receive a 15-percent increase next year, a 35-percent increase in 2020 and a 50-percent increase in 2021, when the new rate will be fully in effect.
Grant PUD revealed when it approved the rate hike that it had received new service inquiries for more than 2,000 megawatts of power since summer 2017. This accounted for “more than three times the electricity needed to power all Grant County homes, farms, businesses and industry” and approximately 75 percent of those requests were from cryptocurrency miners.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Grant PUD.
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