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Montana Regulators Endorse $6.5M NorthWestern Rate Increase

NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio
NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Public Service Commission has approved a $6.5 million rate increase for NorthWestern Energy customers, less than 20 percent of the increase the utility initially sought.

The commission on Oct. 30 approved the rate increase, which is part of a settlement brought by NorthWestern and several customer groups that intervened in the utility's proposal to raise rates by $34.8 million a year. Commissioners had granted an interim $10 million increase.

The Billings Gazette filed a public information request for details about the commission's decision after Commissioner Roger Koopman of Bozeman contacted the newspaper to see if an official announcement had been made. The final order isn't due until Dec. 26.

Commissioner Tony O'Donnell of Billings said he questioned whether the benefits of the settlement were fairly distributed. Large customers will see a 7% rate decrease.

Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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