Montana’s Public Service Commission (PSC) requires our monopoly utility, Northwestern Energy, to plan for the next 20 years to make sure it can provide Montanans the least expensive and most reliable energy.
In 2015 the company published a plan to build $1.3 billion of natural gas (methane) generators to replace the coal-fired generators at Colstrip being retired at the end of their 30-year useful life.
The PSC rejected that 2015 plan and told the company to go back to the drawing board and involve more “stakeholders,” people like you and me. The company requested many delays. NorthWestern Energy officials held only one public hearing. Not once did they use their million-dollar public relations department — so active in defeating all solar and wind proposals in the Legislature — to inform ratepayers of the issues. I didn’t receive one insert in my bill telling me about the 20-year plan. Did you?
The PSC finally set a deadline of March 15 for the new plan. NorthWestern Energy released it the first week of March, and now we have 60 days for public comment.