Montana: NorthWestern rate deal questioned


HELENA – The state’s utility consumer advocate and NorthWestern Energy have agreed on a $15 million-a-year rate increase for the company’s electric and natural gas rates – but not everyone believes it’s a good deal.

Starting Monday, the proposed rate hike will be heard before the Public Service Commission, which must decide whether to approve it.

The chief legal advocate for utility consumers, the Montana Consumer Counsel, will argue for approval of the 2 percent increase, saying it benefits both the consumer and the company.

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Montana PSC to hold hearing Monday on NorthWestern rate increases

The state Public Service Commission will hold a hearing Monday in Helena on NorthWestern Energy’s application to make permanent a 2 percent increase in natural gas and electric delivery rates in Montana.

The PSC approved the increase on a temporary basis effective Jan. 1.

NorthWestern agreed to hold its increase to 2 percent — a much smaller rate increase than it originally requested — in a deal negotiated in December with the Montana Consumer Counsel.

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