Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy

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.

Editor's Note April 21, 2020: PSC counsel Zack Rogala's name was mispelled in a previous version of this article and has since been corrected.

A Montana regulatory body on Apr. 14 fell victim to an instance of teleconference hijacking, also called “zoombombing,” which interrupted public comment and delayed commissioners’ decision making.

The Montana Public Service Commission turned to remote teleconferencing in late March to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus. The commission has been using the popular Zoom platform to hold public meetings.

 

Montana’s largest electric utility says another company is hedging in on its plan to purchase a greater share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. 

Courtesy of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Energy Keepers Inc., owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has signed a contract to sell hydroelectric power to a Washington state utility.

 Edit 3/18: The article has been corrected to reflect the full name of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Montana utility regulators say they need more information from NorthWestern Energy before considering the company’s request to buy an additional share in the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

 

NorthWestern Energy has filed to buy an extra 25 percent of Colstrip Unit 4 from Washington State’s Puget Sound Energy for $1. The Montana Consumer Counsel criticized NorthWestern for the level of information disclosed in the public plan the utility filed with state regulators last month.


The state’s largest utility has warned the public about the potential likelihood of an electricity blackout while talking about how it intends to build up its energy portfolio. 

As Yellowstone Public Radio News reports, a 2019 analysis shows the region could face potential shortages as coal-fired power plants retire in coming years, but doesn’t factor in new power projects likely to come online.

Solar panels. Stock photo.
(PD)

The Montana Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over how the Public Service Commission should set the rates NorthWestern Energy has to pay for power it's required to buy from small solar projects.

 

The state’s largest utility filed its intent to purchase an added share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana on Wednesday.

NorthWestern Energy filed paperwork with the Montana Public Service Commission Feb. 6 asking for approval to buy an added 25 percent share of Colstrip Unit 4 from Puget Sound energy for $1. 

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