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Commission Approves Rate Increase For Montana's Largest Utility

The entrance to NorthWestern Energy's Butte office.
Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy, Montana’s largest electric utility, is bumping up its rates as of today.

Electric utility regulators on Tuesday approved a rate increase that will add $2.28 to the average residential customer’s monthly bill.

Montana Public Service Commission rate analyst Neil Templeton says business decisions, like construction of a new natural gas plant, appear to be the primary reason for the increase.

“NorthWestern’s purchase structure is changing and they’re buying capacity contracts to eliminate some of the shortfall they currently experience, so it all - according to their argument - is increasing their base cost,” Templeton says.

Regulators unanimously agreed to the increase, which is subject to change. The Montana Public Service Commission may refund customers at a later date if necessary.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.