Montana Public Service Commission

Keystone Pipeline pumping station in Nebraska.
shannonpatrick17 / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Like many other essential industries in Montana, the state’s energy sector continues the daily grind amid concerns over the COVID-19 illness. YPR News’s Kayla Desroches has been reporting on oil, gas and coal production and she shares her reporting with us now.

The power plant in the distance.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

 Edit 3/18: The article has been corrected to reflect the full name of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Montana utility regulators say they need more information from NorthWestern Energy before considering the company’s request to buy an additional share in the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

Colstrip power plant
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

 

NorthWestern Energy has filed to buy an extra 25 percent of Colstrip Unit 4 from Washington State’s Puget Sound Energy for $1. The Montana Consumer Counsel criticized NorthWestern for the level of information disclosed in the public plan the utility filed with state regulators last month.

The power plant in the distance.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

BILLINGS, Mont. (The Billings Gazette) — A legal team representing customers of Montana's utilities says NorthWestern Energy's proposal to purchase a larger portion of a coal-fired power plant in southeastern Montana for $1 doesn't include an analysis showing the acquisition is in the public interest or will result in reasonable electricty charges.

State utility regulators have agreed with NorthWestern Energy’s request to block details on its new coal supply contract from becoming public — at least for the moment. This comes as Montana’s biggest utility moves to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip. 

John Hines stands in front of a podium and microphone against a blue screen that reads "Finding Good Workers"
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

 

The state’s largest utility filed its intent to purchase an added share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana on Wednesday.

NorthWestern Energy filed paperwork with the Montana Public Service Commission Feb. 6 asking for approval to buy an added 25 percent share of Colstrip Unit 4 from Puget Sound energy for $1. 

Power transmission lines against a blue sky
Karim D. Ghantous / Flickr

A state board late Friday announced it will allow Montana’s largest utility to increase rates by $6.5 million-dollars.

A sign reading "NorthWestern Energy" in silver type against a tan woodgrain background.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Audio Pending...

Editor's Note 12/10: This story expands upon previous reporting on the same topic from Dec. 09.

Montana's largest utility company says it needs to nearly double its electricity generation to keep up with customer demands for power during winter freezes and summer heatwaves.

NorthWestern Energy logo
NorthWestern Energy


NorthWestern Energy is asking state utility regulators to sign off on the company’s request to increase their customers’ electric bills by $23.8 million for one year. This surcharge is in addition to a $6.5 million rate increase commissioners approved late last month.

NorthWestern Energy logo
NorthWestern Energy


State utility regulators are nearing the end of a massive review of what Northwestern Energy charges its customers and what the company makes in profit. Several regulators this week are arguing over how the public was notified that they’ll likely see an increase in their electric bills.

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