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Lower Bills On The Way For Northwestern Energy Customers

Rainbow Dam
Dan Boyce
Rainbow Dam

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."The market price for electricity’s been stable, also the fact that we own more of our generating facilities. I think that's been the biggest change. I think that's something our Montana customers - and we have about 350,000 of them on the electric side - are going to benefit from for years to come."

NorthWestern bought 11 hydroelectric facilities from PPL Montana last November for $900-million. Its customer-base was going to help finance the purchase with slightly higher rates.

"They did go up a little bit starting in December, but this decrease offsets that a little bit. It was a four to five dollar increase with the dams purchase. Now we're looking at a little more than about a three dollar-per-month decrease. That makes the dams a little bit better deal."

Northwestern made its rate prediction in its annual supply cost report filed with the Montana Public Service commission.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.
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