MTPR

Butch Larcombe

Thermostat. File photo.
koinseb / iStock

Natural gas price spikes are translating into unusually high cold-weather heating bills for many Americans.

Montana customers of NorthWestern Energy, however, are an exception and will probably see stable natural gas prices this winter.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A Montana environmental group is suing the state’s largest utility company and its public regulators. It says they violated a law aimed at developing small renewable energy projects.

The Montana Environmental Information Center claims Montana’s Public Service Commission illegally gave NorthWestern Energy a pass on buying enough energy from what are known as Community Renewable Energy Projects, or CREPs. 

Northwestern Energy

Ready or not, a massive winter storm is bearing down on Montana.


Solar panels. Stock photo.
(PD)

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 But utilities and their regulators in Montana say that requirement is outdated, and that the law should be repealed.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's bitterly cold winter is hitting Northwestern Energy customers in the pocketbook.

Spokesman Butch Larcombe says its entire service territory is much colder than normal. Of course that means customers are using a lot more natural gas or electricity to stay warm:

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in front of NorthWestern Energy headquarters in Butte, 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 is warning customers in the Bitterroot Valley of scam calls requesting immediate payment on overdue bills. 

NorthWestern Energy Ordered To Refund Montana Customers $8.2M

Mar 29, 2016
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

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.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

Northwestern Energy says its remaining Missoula customers without power should be back in service by late tonight. That includes residents of the city's South Hills, Linda Vista and Miller Creek neighborhoods. Thousands of residents have been without power since a destructive and powerful thunderstorm toppled trees and powerlines on Monday night.

Pages