Friday, June 14, 2024

Northwestern Energy proposal costs too much

| April 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Northwestern Energy's (NWE) proposed 25% rate increase seems like an extreme business proposal that will significantly add to Montanans’ economic struggles during these times of high inflation. This significant increase is even more alarming when you compare the cost of electricity NWE Montana customers pay compared to electricity costs in the surrounding states with Montanans paying up to 50% more. Can this be true?

One of the Public Service Commission’s primary responsibilities is to ensure that the NWE utility monopoly embraces a strategy to provide ratepayers with affordable and reliable energy. NWE seems to be more interested in generating money for its employees and shareholders than generating affordable 21st century power for its ratepayers.

Regardless of the PSC’s views on climate change, they must be aware of the improving economics and utility of wind and solar energy compared to the growing costs of fossil-fuel powered generating plants. NWE's seemingly unabated interest in promoting and sustaining fossil fuel plants for future use is folly.

It is the job of the PSC to force NWE to embrace Montana's energy future and not enable them to pursue high-cost, low-return energy generating options. Montanans are relying on the commission for fair and progressive engagement on this proposal.

Craig McClure