Big Sky Roundup

Montana Public Service Commission to take up NorthWestern rate hike

By: - October 24, 2023 5:31 pm

Photo illustration by Getty Images.

The Montana Public Service Commission will take up Wednesday a long-awaited decision on a rate case that could lead to 28% higher electric bills for NorthWestern Energy customers as proposed in a contested settlement.

The PSC, which regulates monopoly utilities, takes up the matter 9:30 a.m. Wednesday for a decision.

The increase was characterized at a hearing in April as “unprecedented” and “frustrating.”

At the hearing, an exhibit said in August 2022, residential customers paid $91.27 for their electric bill, and if the PSC approves a settlement that’s part of the case, they would pay $116.63, a 27.7% increase.

But an energy consultant at the hearing said residential customers are being subsidized by other classes of ratepayers to the tune of millions.

The Montana Consumer Counsel signed off on the settlement. However, the “non-settling parties” would bear more than 90% of the increase as proposed in the settlement, according to testimony at the hearing.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.