Montana Public Radio

Montana Public Service Commission

Montana energy regulators Tuesday set contract terms for what NorthWestern Energy pays small generation facilities, like wind and solar, for the energy they produce.

Regulators on the Montana Public Service Commission lengthened potential contracts from a maximum 15 years to 20 years flat.

A Montana utility regulator has filed a more than $2 million claim against the Public Service Commission for negligence and harm he says was directed towards him.

Bozeman Commissioner Roger Koopman filed the notice with the Department of Administration on behalf of himself and his family, citing targeted, malicious behavior by the PSC and several of its elected officials and state employees.

Water faucet.

Montana regulators on Tuesday found a private water utility shut off water service without justification to residents of a Helena subdivision this summer.

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a $1,000 fine and will further investigate North Star Development’s emergency interruption of service in August that affected some of the subdivision’s roughly 280 households.

Windmills in a grassy field

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — For the third time this year, a court has ruled that Montana's Public Service Commission has ignored energy law in setting prices for a wind or solar farm.

District Judge Kathy Seeley ruled the commission underpaid Caithness Beaver Creek for electricity it was scheduled to sell to the state’s largest monopoly utility NorthWestern Energy as part of a proposed $500 million wind and battery storage project, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.

Three of five seats are up for grabs on the body that regulates electric utilities in Montana. Open races will take place for seats representing the western and southwestern regions, while an incumbent is running for the southeast Montana seat.

Yellowstone Public Radio New’s Kayla Desroches spoke with politics and agriculture reporter Tom Lutey from the Billings Gazette about what the outcome of the November election could mean for the Public Service Commission and the state’s energy portfolio.

Montana state regulators will consider NorthWestern Energy’s proposed purchase in a greater share of the Colstrip coal fired power plant in mid December.

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) set a hearing date of Dec. 14 at its meeting on Aug. 25.

NorthWestern filed a motion on Aug. 14 to expedite the first hearing on its proposed 92-MGW acquisition in Colstrip unit 4 to November. Intervenors said that’s not enough time for discovery.

PSC staff’s suggested mid December hearing is before newly elected commissioners take their seats.

The Montana Supreme Court Monday, Aug. 24 sided with solar power developers who accused regulators and the state’s largest utility of trying to block renewable energy projects.

Justices upheld a lower court ruling that said state regulators knew their actions would hurt solar development when they suspended a federal law requiring companies to buy power from alternative energy sources.

Editor’s Note 08/20/20: The original version of this story misattributed the included quote and it has since been corrected.

Montana electric utility regulators are investigating the effect of the novel coronavirus on a rate structuring pilot program from the state’s largest utility.

This week, the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered NorthWestern Energy to submit a report factoring in financial impacts from the novel coronavirus on the utility’s decoupling program.

In the latest step of a long pre approval process, the commission that regulates electric utilities in Montana wants to know how big a share NorthWestern Energy intends to purchase in the Colstrip coal fired power plant.


State regulators Wednesday will start considering whether Montana’s largest electric utility should be able to pass costs on to customers for money it lost in the summer of 2018.