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Cryptocurrency miners go to federal court to block ‘crippling’ electric rate hike | KUOW

Cryptocurrency companies in Central Washington were left to wait in suspense on Tuesday after they asked a federal judge in Spokane to block an imminent, targeted electric rate increase. The energy-intensive data center operators claim they would be crippled by the Grant County Public Utility District rate hike. The utility says the case is without merit.

The Grant PUD board unanimously voted to roughly triple rates over the next three years for a specific category of tech businesses it deemed unproven and risky. The first phase of the electric rate increase kicks in April 1. But nine Washington cryptocurrency companies operating in Moses Lake, Ephrata or Quincy are suing to stop it.

The businesses that sued want to be grandfathered under current commercial rates, which are among the lowest in the country. Cryptocurrency companies flocked to Central Washington in recent years to take advantage of rock-bottom electricity rates provided by a trio of public utility districts that operate their own hydropower dams on the Columbia River.

Their lawyer claims the increase will drive these businesses into the red.

“Plaintiffs face immediate harm from the violations of their constitutional rights and the threat of bankruptcy from [Grant PUD’s] extreme rate increases,” wrote attorney Eric Christensen in his brief requesting a preliminary injunction to stop the new cryptocurrency rate.

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KUOW – Cryptocurrency miners go to federal court to block ‘crippling’ electric rate hike.