NorthWestern Energy

Official seal for the Montana Public Service Commission
Montana Public Service Commission / Montana Public Service Commission

Primary races are crowded for the Republican-dominated Montana Public Service Commission, which sets customer rates and approves new power, water and legacy telecommunications projects by regulated utilities in the state.

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

The commission that regulates energy utilities in Montana agreed to reconsider a pilot program that would allow the state’s largest utility to separate its revenue from its electricity sales.

The commission is also allowing time to figure out how the coronavirus pandemic might affect that mechanism.

A Zoom video conference between five people.
Zoom Video Communications / Zoom Video Communications

The novel coronavirus has canceled many aspects of regular order, but city and state governments are still making decisions that might outlast the current pandemic.

YPR News’ Kayla Desroches has been reporting on how elected officials are balancing social distancing guidelines with the public’s right to open government. She shared her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

Coal stacks at Colstrip Power plant
Kayla Deroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

The body that regulates electric utilities in Montana on Apr. 21 decided it does not need more information to consider a proposal from the state’s largest utility to buy more into the Colstrip coal fired power plant.

The PSC has said the application lacked information about resource alternatives like clean energy, the potential retirement of unit 4 and how the acquisition would affect customer rates, among other things.

Official seal for the Montana Public Service Commission
Montana Public Service Commission / Montana Public Service Commission

Editor's Note April 21, 2020: PSC counsel Zack Rogala's name was mispelled in a previous version of this article and has since been corrected.

A Montana regulatory body on Apr. 14 fell victim to an instance of teleconference hijacking, also called “zoombombing,” which interrupted public comment and delayed commissioners’ decision making.

The Montana Public Service Commission turned to remote teleconferencing in late March to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus. The commission has been using the popular Zoom platform to hold public meetings.

The Coalstrip coal fire power plant's four stacks
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


Montana’s largest electric utility says another company is hedging in on its plan to purchase a greater share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. 

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.

Spire Climbing and Fitness in Bozeman announced March 15, 2020 it would only allow members to use the facility, would no longer allow equipment rentals and limit yoga classes to eight people.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

From postponed concerts to virtual campaign events, businesses and politicians across Montana are changing plans after detections of multiple in-state cases of the novel coronavirus.

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.