The Montana Public Service Commission has approved a $6.5 million rate increase for NorthWestern Energy customers, less than 20 percent of the increase the utility initially sought.
The commission approved the rate increase last week, according to a notice from the PSC issued Wednesday.
The Billings Gazette filed a public information request for details about the commission's decision after Commissioner Roger Koopman of Bozeman contacted the newspaper to see if an official announcement had been made.
The rate increase is part of a settlement brought by NorthWestern and several customer groups that intervened in the utility's proposal to raise rates by almost $35 million a year.
Commissioners had granted an interim $10 million increase.
Commissioner Tony O'Donnell of Billings said he questioned whether the benefits of the settlement were fairly distributed. Large customers will see a 7 percent rate decrease.
According to the PSC notice, the final order isn't due until Dec. 27.