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NorthWestern Energy

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

Colstrip power plant, Colstrip Montana.
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

A plan to allow the state’s largest electric utility to buy a bigger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip is taking a new form. The so-called Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 was introduced Wednesday in the state Legislature.

Hours after senators voted to table a prior proposal to allow NorthWestern Energy to buy more of Colstrip and pass along certain costs to their customers for up to 30 years, a similar idea landed in the hopper.

NorthWestern Releases Plan To Expand Power Generation

Mar 5, 2019
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — NorthWestern Energy released a plan Tuesday to more than double how much power it can generate for Montana customers during peak demand. But critics worry the company will rely too much on fossil fuels and not enough on renewable resources to complete the expansion.

Colstrip power plant.
John Adams / Montana Free Press

HELENA — A bill would allow NorthWestern Energy to take control of the Colstrip power plant with scaled-back regulatory oversight, and it’s moving through the Legislature at lightning speed.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — NorthWestern Energy customers will soon be seeing a credit on their bills due to the utility's savings under the federal tax cut enacted last December.

The Montana Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved an agreement reached between NorthWestern and consumer groups that calls for a total one-time credit of $20.5 million.

NorthWestern estimates average customers will receive a credit of $24 on their power bills and $3.50 on their natural gas bills within the next 30 days.

Thermostat. File photo.
koinseb / iStock

Natural gas price spikes are translating into unusually high cold-weather heating bills for many Americans.

Montana customers of NorthWestern Energy, however, are an exception and will probably see stable natural gas prices this winter.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A Montana environmental group is suing the state’s largest utility company and its public regulators. It says they violated a law aimed at developing small renewable energy projects.

The Montana Environmental Information Center claims Montana’s Public Service Commission illegally gave NorthWestern Energy a pass on buying enough energy from what are known as Community Renewable Energy Projects, or CREPs. 

Northwestern Energy

Ready or not, a massive winter storm is bearing down on Montana.


NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Public Service Commission wants the state’s regulated utilities to calculate the big reductions in taxes each company expects to pay starting next year. 

Solar panels.
(PD)

Environmental groups and renewable energy companies are suing Montana regulators in an attempt to strike down new rules that limit how they can sell solar energy.

Renewable energy advocates say a recent order from the Public Service Commission violates state and federal law and unfairly targets their industry, a notion that state regulators reject.

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