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NorthWestern Colstrip deal could cost $3,500 per ratepayer

April 21, 2021


NorthWestern Energy’s CEO, Bob Rowe, seems panicked by how cheap clean energy is. In desperation, he’s pushing raw snake oil in the Montana Legislature.

We remember Rowe as a Missoula Democrat, an advocate for low-income families. We elected him twice to the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) that regulates our state’s utilities. In 1999, he even served as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Rowe knows it’s wrong to skirt the regulations he used to enforce.

David Hoffman, the company’s government affairs director, says Senate Bill 379 will provide “glide path” for NorthWestern. The Montana Senate has already passed the bill. The House Energy and Telecommunications Committee will decide this week whether to move the bill to the House floor.

The costs could reach as high as $1.3 billion over 20 years. That’s $3,500 for each NorthWestern ratepayer, or around $700 a year, according to an analysis done by the PSC staff. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes that ratepayers will be paying for a “fictional company investment of $700 million.” 

[Jeffrey Smith]

More: Opinion: Transition to clean energy has Northwestern bamboozled

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