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Kalispel Tribe of Indians forms own electric utility

The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has formed its own electric utility to help generate business, reinvest money in the tribe's economic enterprises and grant it more autonomy.

With this development, Kalispel is the fourth Native American tribe to operate an electric utility and purchase power from Bonneville Power Administration, according to a Dec. 27 news release.

Kalispel Tribal Utilities will primarily provide service to tribal members and others, who meet the conditions required by the tribe's code of regulations. The new utility will provide electrical service to Northern Quest Resort and Casino, among others, in its first year of operation.

The Northern Quest Resort and Casino area in Spokane, Wash., was originally serviced by Avista Corp. division Avista Utilities and Inland Power & Light Co. Both utilities collaborated with the tribe and the BPA to support the formation of KTU.

KTU's current load is about 3.5 average MW, but it is forecast to grow with the tribe's planned 40,000-square-foot expansion at the resort. It is also considering to eventually provide services to additional reservation lands in nearby Usk, Wash.