Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy

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.

A screen capture from a NorthWestern Energy video shows a powerline corridor that must be cleared of hazard trees to help prevent wildfires.
Screen capture from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kH464TvlSo

On Wednesday, investigators concluded that electric power lines caused the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history. The Camp Fire burned more than 150,000 acres and killed 85 people. The electric utility that owns the power lines has filed for bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits related to the fire.

What is Montana’s biggest utility doing to mitigate fire risk? Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney talks to NorthWestern Energy Spokesperson Jo Dee Black about that.

NorthWestern Energy says its customers in Montana are being targeted by scam phone calls threatening to shut off utilities if they do not pay immediately.

Aquatic Invasive species watercraft inspection station.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature last week tweaked the way it raises money to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana waterways. The budget to do so remained about the same, but who’s paying for it changed a little.

'Capitol Talk': Legislature Wraps-Up; Campaign Season Heats Up

Apr 26, 2019

Tonight on Capitol Talk: Big bills that passed, and ones that didn't; the split in the Republican party — and its consequences; Gov. Bullock's pending big announcement; and Attorney General Tim Fox's fondness for chicken.

Montana State Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature is in a holding pattern entering the final days of the session as behind the scenes deals are being worked out in rooms at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers are attempting to advance politically contentious policies over preschool funding and the  future of Colstrip as time in the 2019 legislative session runs out.

NorthWestern Energy is outfitting 43,000 streetlights across Montana with new energy-efficient bulbs, as old, potentially hazardous fixtures are recycled.

Falling prices have made the LED streetlight bulb a cost effective option for NorthWestern, especially as manufacturers warn the utility that traditional high-pressure sodium lights might not be available much longer.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: It was hard-fought, but Medicaid expansion will continue in Montana, and Gov. Bullock is celebrating the big legislative win. Moderate Republicans once again tipped the scales on Medicaid and other big items. Greg Gianforte appears ready to leave Congress, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope of retaking the seat. The Legislature is ready to wrap up after the Easter break.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) - Stevensville
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The bill to continue Medicaid expansion in Montana passed out of the state Senate Tuesday after teetering on the edge of a deadline for end of session negotiations.

The reauthorization of the health coverage program for low-income adults, packaged with new work and public service requirements for certain enrollees, passed 28-22 in its final Senate vote.

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