Jan 10, 2019  Missoulian

Here we go again. Northwestern Energy (NWE) will send their hired four lobbyists with large entertaining budgets to the 2019 state Legislature to impede or obstruct any expansion of solar or wind electrical power. Last session they blocked four bills that would have raised the current cap on solar.

Now NWE is out to kill rooftop solar. They have filed a case with the Montana Public Service Commission to raise their monthly distribution fee (estimates of $600/year) for any new rooftop solar installations. NWE says current solar customers are not paying their fair share. The current fee is $60/year, so a tenfold increase.

Also, NWE is updating their plan for future electrical energy that will be released Jan. 18 in Helena. Their previous PSC-rejected proposed plan had natural gas (methane) plants being built for $1.3 billion and no new renewables.

So while NWE spends large advertising funds to represent their green side, their actions at the Legislature and PSC are typical of a large corporation. This dark side can make more money on natural gas plants, rather than wind or solar.

Over 80 percent of Montanans support the expansion of solar and wind electricity. Speak up by telling your legislators and Public Service commissioners.

Bruce Bender,