Montana Public Service Commission

Rainbow Dam
Dan Boyce

Northwestern Energy predicts electricity bills for its residential customers will decrease by $3.10 per month starting in July.

Northwestern spokesman Butch Larcombe says a couple of different factors are at play.

Bill Gallagher, former Montana Public Service Commission Chairman
Montana Public Service Commission

The chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission remembers his predecessor, Bill Gallagher, as a man of courage and grace.

Gallagher died of pancreatic cancer late last week.

Bill Gallagher, former Montana Public Service Commission Chairman
Montana Public Service Commission

Bill Gallagher had a key vote in the MT Public Service Commission's decision to approve NorthWestern Energy's proposal to buy 11 of Montana's hydroelectric dams from PPL Montana. How did he make his decision?

(Broadcast: "Home Ground Radio," 12/21/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Sundays at  11:10 a.m., or via podcast.)

Brad Johnson Decisively Wins Seat on PSC

Nov 4, 2014

Brad Johnson is set to write another chapter in his political biography.

The former Secretary of State cruised to victory in the District 5 race for the Public Services Commission. He will replace retiring Republican colleague Bill Gallagher.

Hydropower Deal Divides PSC Hopefuls Hollenbaugh, Johnson

Oct 17, 2014
Northwestern Energy

Here’s a question that might help you choose between two rivals for a seat on the board that regulates Montana’s biggest power utility.

What’s your take on the Public Service Commission’s approval of NorthWestern Energy’s purchase of $870 million worth of hydropower dams?

The deal would add an extra $5 a month to ratepayers’ bills and is a key point of contention between former Montana Secretary of State Brad Johnson and a former legislator Galen Hollenbaugh.

This Week In Montana Politics

Sep 5, 2014

PSC Vote, Common Core, Daines & RightNow Technologies, Curtis presents a jobs plan.

The Montana Public Service Commission has approved Northwestern Energy's $870-million-dollar plan to buy eleven hydroelectric dams.

The dams included in the sale are on the Missouri, Madison, Clark Fork and Flathead rivers. They used to be owned by Montana Power Company, but PPL purchased them during the deregulation movement in the late 90's.

The commission voted 4 to 1 to approve the deal. Commissioner Travis Kavulla opposed the plan.

The typical Northwestern customer could see their electric rates rise by about $5-dollars a month to help pay for the sale.

Montana Politics Week In Review

Jul 18, 2014

NorthWestern Energy Dam Buyback

6/17/14: This week on "Home Ground Radio:" If second chances are rare, it's even rarer to have a chance to buy back something valuable that you sold. Montana's electricity-generating dams are for sale.  Should we buy them back? NorthWestern Energy's Bob Rowe and John Hines think so. 

At least two candidates have already stepped forward saying they intend to run for the Public Service Commission seat being vacated by Chairman Bill Gallagher at the end of the year.

Gallagher announced this week he would not be seeking re-election to the seat he has held for the last three years after learning pancreatic cancer he had been diagnosed with last Summer had spread to his liver.

jabzoog/Flickr

Renewable energy advocates are blasting a new proposal from the Montana Public Service Commission.

The PSC is looking to change the rules for which small power production facilities qualify for certain standard rates.

Opponents say the change could significantly hinder expansion of renewable energy production.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says supporters of the change say it would prevent cost increases for ratepayers.

    

Dan Boyce

 

NorthWestern Energy is rolling out the major phase of a seven-year, $375 million infrastructure upgrade project this year, and it has already led to an increase in some utility rates with more potentially on the way.