MTPR

Montana Public Service Commission

Jeff Mangan is Montana's new commissioner of political practices.
Corin Cates-Carney

The chair of Montana’s utility regulators violated state ethics during the 2016 election, according to a decision released today by Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices.

New terms for small solar projects across Montana might have been knowingly set to discourage development. That's based on a conversation caught on a hot mic last week during a mid-session break for a Public Service Commission meeting.


A second ride-sharing company is hoping to set up shop in Montana. Officials with Lyft Inc. will testify before state regulators Monday, trying to prove they’re ready to join Uber in a Montana’s mobile app ride-hailing industry.
SDOT photos (CC-BY-NC-2)

A second ride-sharing company is hoping to set up shop in Montana. Officials with Lyft Inc. will testify before state regulators Monday, trying to prove they’re ready to join Uber in a Montana’s mobile app ride-hailing industry.

A 2005 state law requires Montana utilities to buy a total of 75 megawatts of energy from small-scale, locally owned producers of renewable electricity from wind, solar, and hydro sources.
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Montana’s largest utility provider announced Wednesday it is looking for small-scale renewable energy projects that it’s required by law to buy. But utilities and their regulators in Montana say that requirement is outdated, and that the law should be repealed.

Montana Governor Vetoes Bills On Abortion, Concealed Weapons

May 9, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a proposal that would bar doctors from performing late-term abortions and another that sought to allow lawmakers to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol and other state property.

The vetoes were among the seven his office announced Tuesday as he continued to sift through a pile of bills sent to him by now-adjourned lawmakers.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Montana's utility regulators won a drawn out legislative struggle with the state’s largest utility today. A bill preventing NorthWestern Energy from passing on some its costs to customers cleared the Senate.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn

Montana’s utility regulators failed Thursday in an attempt to push forward their top priority of the legislative session — changing the law to limit how much of the costs of electricity supply NorthWestern Energy can pass onto its customers.

Utility companies say homeowners' solar panels can end up being subsidized by other customers.
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Legislation introduced Wednesday in the Montana House would require officials to study how renewable energy generators, like solar panels, impact the utility bills of the people who don’t have them.

Solar panels can help trim down the utility bill of homeowners, but some say it shifts that cost onto other utility consumers who don’t have personal energy generators on their home. There’s no consensus on that.

Gail Gutsche
gailgutscheforpsc.com

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills. There are two contested seats on the five-member Public Service Commission this year. In this interview, we hear from Democrat Gail Gutsche.

Public Service Commission

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills. There are two contested seats on the five-member Public Service Commission this year. In this interview, we hear from incumbent Republican Bob Lake.

Rep. Pat Noonan (D) HD74
Montana Legislature

Democratic candidate for the Public Service Commission Pat Noonan talks with MTPR Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney.

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills, as well as the environmental impact of Montana’s energy sources.

Republican Candidate for Public Service Commission Roger Koopman
Montana PSC

Republican PSC Candidate Roger Koopman talks with MTPR Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney.

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills, as well as the environmental impact of Montana’s energy sources.

PSC Candidate Caron Cooper
http://www.caroncoopermtpsc.com/

Independent PSC Candidate Caron Cooper talks with MTPR Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney.

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills, as well as the environmental impact of Montana’s energy sources.

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in front of NorthWestern Energy headquarters in Butte, MT Oct. 10, 2016.
Corin Cates-Carney

  About 100 advocates for renewable energy walked through uptown Butte earlier this week, chanting and thrusting signs in the air. Some protesters kept time on wooden blocks, tambourines and drums, as they walked toward the state headquarters of Montana’s largest utility company, NorthWestern Energy.

The groups 350 Missoula, the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council protested NorthWestern Energy's plan for future electricity supply in front of the utility company's state headquarters in Butte Oct. 10, 2016..
Corin Cates-Carney

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in Butte today.

In March of this year NorthWestern Energy released a plan outlining the future of the utility’s electricity supply. Today, the groups 350 Missoula, the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council protested the plan in front of the utility company's state headquarters in Butte.

NorthWestern Energy has requested an $11 million natural gas rate increase. The rate hike requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission.
(PD)

NorthWestern Energy has requested an $11 million natural gas rate increase. The rate hike requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission.

Corin Cates-Carney

Candidates in Montana's State Auditor race debated for the first time this election season during an event hosted by the Seeley Lake Community Council on Thursday. 

Democrat Jesse Laslovich and Republican Matt Rosendale challenged each other's ability to address rising healthcare costs, if elected as the state's top regulator of insurance and securities industries in Montana. 

The debate also featured statewide candidates in the contests for Superintendent of Public Instruction and an open seat on the Public Service Commission. 

Solar Energy Advocates Ask Feds To Reverse Price Suspension
(PD)

This week, Montana’s Environmental Information Center and solar energy advocates asked federal authorities to reverse a state regulator's decision earlier this year that advocates say is killing clean energy jobs.

Mountain Water Company.
Cherie Trusler

The private company that owns Missoula’s city water system got slapped with a financial penalty today.

Our Capitol reporter has details on that, as well as efforts to change how much renewable energy companies can charge customers. Reporter Corin Cates-Carney followed the action and joins us now to fill us in.

Utility companies say homeowners' solar panels can end up being subsidized by other customers.
(PD)

A North Carolina solar energy company says it’s prepared to sue Montana if state utility regulators stick by their decision on how much they can charge for electricity.

Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

Montana’s utility regulators took unprecedented action Thursday when they suspended price rates for solar energy. It's a win for NorthWestern Energy, but it could slow growth in Montana’s solar energy industry.

Windmill at the Judith Gap wind farm.
David J. Laporte (CC-BY-2)

A federal law from the 1970s is pushing Montana’s Public Service Commission to act as mediator between large utility companies and small renewable energy providers as they debate the price of electricity.

Mountain Water Company, Missoula, MT.
Cheri Trusler

It took the Montana Public Service Commission less than 10 minutes Monday to approve a $1.1 million rate reduction for Missoula’s Mountain Water Company.

NorthWestern Energy has requested an $11 million natural gas rate increase. The rate hike requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission.
(PD)

The City of Missoula says the recent sale of the city’s water utility company should mean lower rates, but instead, city residents are being overcharged for water.

CenturyLink building in Butte.
Eric Whitney

CenturyLink representatives gave the Montana Public Service Commission an update today on their work to improve inadequate phone service in several Montana communities.

Last fall the PSC and CenturyLink settled a lawsuit over the quality of their phone service in Wibaux and Wolf Creek.

A Montana judge has rejected a telephone company's claim that its executives' pay is a confidential trade secret.

WA Utility Denies It's Seeking Fast Track Closure Of Colstrip Units 1 & 2

Mar 31, 2016
Coal with the town of Colstrip in the background
Amy Martin

One of the owners of Colstrip Units 1 and 2 denies his company is angling for a fast-track closure of the coal-fired power plants. Steve Secrist, general council for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) told attendees at the Montana Energy Conference the utility is looking to the long-term.

NorthWestern Energy Ordered To Refund Montana Customers $8.2M

Mar 29, 2016
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators on Tuesday ordered NorthWestern Energy to refund customers $8.24 million that the state's largest power company charged when it had to buy electricity on the open market following a 2013 outage of the Colstrip coal plant.

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A deal reached between Montana-Dakota Utilities and consumer advocates means utility rates in eastern Montana will increase starting April 1.

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Tuesday’s Supreme Court vote to temporarily block the Obama Administration's climate change regulations is receiving praise and criticism in Montana.

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