NorthWestern Energy

A piece of coal
Alexander G / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Hearing sessions across Montana over the last month have given ratepayers of the state’s largest electric utility the chance to sound off on the company’s 20-year-plan for sourcing energy. While many people have lashed out against the fossil fuel heavy plan, a minority of supporters in Billings and Colstrip last week stepped up.

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


Two of the Colstrip power plant’s four units ceased operation last week. Residents in Colstrip voiced shock and sadness Saturday about the long-planned but still surprising shutdowns.

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

A shareholder of Montana’s largest electric utility has filed a lawsuit claiming that the company blocked his clean energy proposal from a 2020 shareholder vote.

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.

Montana Free Press

This story was originally published by the Montana Free Press on Dec. 19, 2019.

At a cramped meeting before the Montana Public Service Commission in Helena Dec. 9, a crowd of climate activists radiated suspicion as a bearded economist flipped through a slide deck.

NorthWestern Energy logo
NorthWestern Energy

Montana’s largest utility says it needs to generate more electricity to meet customer demand, even after announcing plans to increase its stake in the Colstrip coal-fired power plant earlier this week.

The outside of the NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s largest electricity provider on Tuesday announced it plans to buy a larger share of the Colstrip power plant a day after protesters rallied the company to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

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

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.

Montana utility regulators say NorthWestern Energy must spend at least $3.2 million a year on removing trees near power lines. Regulators are worried that power company equipment could spark flames similar to the devastating wildfire in California last year that killed more than 80 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

Jack Haskell / Flickr

On Monday, the elected body that regulates utilities in Montana temporarily rejected a controversial fee as part of a rate increase from the state’s largest utility.