The Montana Public Service Commission has settled its court case against Liberty Utilities over whether or not it broke the law by acquiring Mountain Water Company without giving the PSC proper oversight. According to PSC communications director Eric Sell, the settlement is a big win for Missoula residents.

“We finally reached an agreement that, quite frankly, is as good as anything that we would have reached had the complaint gone forward in the district court,” Sell said. “$150,000 that would have gone into the general fund if is this had gone forward  the district court is now going to the Missoula Human Resource Council to low income assistance related to waterlines and meters.”

On top of the money, Liberty Utilities gave up its ability to renegotiate its rates in the near future.

“In May, the commission approved a $1.1 million annual rate reduction for Mountain Water’s customers,” Sell said. “As part of this stipulation Mountain Water has agreed not to challenge that rate change the $1.1 million annual rate reduction goes forward until a new rate case and right now we don’t have any indication as to when Mountain Water will come in for a new rate case."

In the settlement, Mountain Water, Liberty Utilities, and its corporate affiliates have also been required to run any attempted future sale of Mountain Water Company through PSC oversight, but of course, they were supposed to do that last time as well.