MTPR

Montana Public Service Commission

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

A Montana District Judge says state utility regulators erroneously gave NorthWestern Energy a pass from a legal requirement to buy power from local small-scale renewable energy projects. 

A Heli-Feller, a piece of equipment designed to cut and hold the tops off trees, allows helicopters to assist ground crews clearing the areas around power lines.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

As fire season starts to heat up in Montana, the threat of electrical power lines igniting dry forests is raising concerns. Power lines started the deadliest and most expensive fire in California history last November, the Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

The threat of vegetation falling on Montana power lines has increased in recent years due to the rising number of beetle-killed trees.

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

Environmental advocacy groups and the state’s largest utility company are arguing over how much customers should pay for power coming from the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.

For the first time in 10 years Montana regulators are revisiting NorthWestern Energy’s ownership at Colstrip in a big picture look at how much the company earns and charges its customers.

NorthWestern Energy is asking the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a new fee that certain customers will have to pay if they generate more energy than they use and feed it onto the electric grid, a process known as net-metering.
iStock

Advocates for homeowners generating electricity through rooftop solar panels protested a request by the state’s largest utility Thursday that could increase power bills for some of those customers.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing to remove non-native smallmouth bass from Gallatin Valley ponds. The agency says the Midwestern fish could spread to other water bodies — including the blue-ribbon lower Madison River — and drastically reduce trout populations.

House Advances 'Save Colstrip' Bill

Apr 15, 2019
Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R) - Billings, is carrying Senate Bill 331 as it moves through the House. He said after an amendment restored oversight to the Public Service Commission, the bill became more palatable for lawmakers.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- The Montana House of Representatives on Monday advanced legislation known as the “Save Colstrip” bill, which would incentivize NorthWestern Energy to buy more shares of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant.

A party-line vote late in a Montana House committee Friday is advancing the controversial bill that gives NorthWestern Energy incentives to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

A party-line vote late in a Montana House committee Friday is advancing the controversial bill that gives NorthWestern Energy incentives to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.

But the so-called Montana Energy Security Act is moving to the House floor for debate significantly changed.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) - Colstrip.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion in Montana failed to pass today when the state Senate locked in a 25-25 tie.

Republican co-sponsors of the policy are withholding their support in a play for leverage over other political goals, including the passage of a controversial bill aimed at keeping the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip running.

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

NorthWestern Energy is asking Montana lawmakers to back a bill that would allow them to bypass some oversight by state regulators. 

The so-called Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 passed out of the Senate late last week.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A controversial bill to change the state’s regulation of NorthWestern Energy in a potential deal at Colstrip cleared a critical vote Wednesday in the Senate. 

The proposal encourages the state’s largest monopoly utility to increase its operating share of energy production at one of the coal-fired power plant's four units.

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