Crypto Mining Firms File Lawsuit Against Washington’s Grant PUD Over Energy Rate Hike

News | January 14, 2019 By:

The Grant county public utility district (Grant PUD) in Washington state has been sued by nine cryptocurrency firms for creating and approving a rate hike for crypto miners.

In August 2018, the commissioners of the Grant County PUD unanimously approved the new Rate 17 for evolving industries. Under the new rate, high-power crypto miners and other comparable operations will receive a 15 percent increase in April 2019, a 35 percent increase in 2020 and a 50 percent increase in 2021.

The lawsuit, filed by in the US District Court in Spokane, claims that Rate 17 violates constitutional protections and federal laws because it “discriminates against the plaintiffs in favor of local interests, and it also places a huge burden on interstate commerce that is unjustified by any legitimate local interest.” The lawsuit also alleges that the public input process was inadequate, and that there is inadequate right of appeal.

The lawsuit names the five PUD commissioners at the time the rate schedule was adopted, including Terry Brewer, Bob Bernd, Dale Walker, Tom Flint and Larry Schaapman, and ten PUD employees. The plaintiffs are seeking to stop the implementation of the Grant PUD’s Rate 17 and seeking damages.

During the January 8 meeting of the Grant PUD, the commissioners agreed that the PUD would cover the cost of legal defense for all commissioners and employees.

Since summer 2017, Grant PUD said that it has received new service inquires for more than 2,000 megawatts of power — more than three times the electricity needed to power all Grant County homes, farms, businesses and industry. Approximately 75 percent of those requests are from crypto miners.