The Montana Public Service Commission made moves this week toward a potential settlement agreement with Liberty Utilities after the state agency accused the utility company of finalizing the purchase of Mountain Water Company without the proper oversight. PSC public information officer Eric Sell explains:

“Liberty Utilities approached the commission and requested that we enter into settlement discussions with them,” said Sell. “As you may recall back in January, the commission voted to take liberty and mountain water to court for unauthorized sale of utility. Now liberty is requesting that we enter into settlement discussions.”

Sell says the PSC has responded by dividing its attorneys into two groups.

“The commission authorized legal staff to split into advocacy and advisory rules,” Sell said. “Normally they are all advisory. Now the commission is allowed them to split so the advocacy staff can advocate for a certain settlement position and the advisory staff can advise the commission on the legal aspects of the settlement.”

Sell says the advocacy attorneys will push for “the best outcomes for Montana rate payers,” but not necessarily for a particular settlement agreement.