Montana Public Radio

NorthWestern Energy

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.

Federal law requires utility companies like NorthWestern to buy power from small renewable energy projects at the price it would cost the utility company to generate it or buy it from somewhere else.
Flickr user jabzoog

A company proposing a new wind farm near Martinsdale has agreed to sell electricity to NorthWestern Energy after state regulators lowered the price NorthWestern would have to pay.

Montana’s Public Service Commission is holding a public listening session in Havre Monday, October 30.

The regulatory body says it wants to identify opportunities for NorthWestern Energy to improve its incident response and communications with customers in the wake of widespread power outages across the Hi-Line earlier this month.

NorthWestern Energy

Power is now restored to nearly all NorthWestern Energy customers along the Hi-Line. Some residents went without electricity for over a week after a major snowstorm October 2nd and 3rd basically destroyed part of the area’s electrical infrastructure.

Hydroelectric dams like the Salish Ksanka Qlispe Dam in Polson worry invasive mussels could clog up energy production.
Corin Cates-Carney

Hydropower is a big resource in Montana. It accounted for almost a third of the state’s net electricity generation in 2015. Floods and droughts are always on dam managers’ minds, but lately, energy producers are also worried about tiny, non-native mollusks that could wreak havoc on Montana’s hydropower facilities.


Solar panels. Stock photo.
(PD)

Montana’s largest utility provider announced Wednesday it is looking for small-scale renewable energy projects that it’s required by law to buy. But utilities and their regulators in Montana say that requirement is outdated, and that the law should be repealed.

May Snowstorm Causes Problems In Western Montana

May 17, 2017
A storm system moving across western and southwestern Montana on Wednesday brought snow to the higher elevations along the Rocky Mountain Front and heavy rain at lower elevations.
Josh Burnham

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A May snowstorm caused power outages and travel issues in western Montana on Wednesday.

The Department of Transportation closed Interstate 90 over Homestake Pass east of Butte due to jackknifed semi-trailers and poor travel conditions due to heavy, wet snow. Travelers were encouraged to take alternate routes.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana's utility regulators won a drawn out legislative struggle with the state’s largest utility today. A bill preventing NorthWestern Energy from passing on some its costs to customers cleared the Senate.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s utility regulators failed Thursday in an attempt to push forward their top priority of the legislative session — changing the law to limit how much of the costs of electricity supply NorthWestern Energy can pass onto its customers.

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