Montana Public Radio

Montana Public Service Commission

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.

Favorites in the top races won their primaries but the general election may not be as predictable. President Trump plans to campaign in Montana for his favorite Steve. And hard-line conservatives celebrate legislative primary victories.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Montana primary voters held onto an incumbent and advanced new candidates in races for the board that regulates electric utilities in the state.

The closest race for the Montana Public Service Commission was for District 2 in southeast Montana, where incumbent Republican Tony O’Donnell of Billings fought for a second term against former PSC commissioner Kirk Bushman and State Rep. Daniel Zolnikov.


Primary races are crowded for the Republican-dominated Montana Public Service Commission, which sets customer rates and approves new power, water and legacy telecommunications projects by regulated utilities in the state.

Edit 5/13/20: This article has been corrected to reflect that the suit was filed in Lewis and Clark County.

The body that regulates electric utilities in Montana is asking a court to rule on what information it must disclose to news media outlets after they filed public records requests earlier this year.

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