The Montana Public Service Commission earlier this month held two weeks of hearings on Northwestern Energy's proposal to pay $870-million-dollars to purchase a dozen hydroelectric dams.
Northwestern C-E-O Bob Rowe says the dams and their power-plants would provide customers with reliable power at steady prices for decades to come. The plan could increase Northwestern's customer electric rates by 6-and-a-half percent.
The P-S-C, its staff and others had tough questions for company officials.
One economist suggested that if he had to choose between Northwestern's expected price of a constant $55-dollars per megawatt hour and open market prices - which could vary between $30 and $50-dollars per megawatt hour - he'd personally prefer paying those variable open market prices.
Northwestern's Bob Rowe doesn't see it that way: