PSC Insists On $8.2 Million Rate Cut For NorthWestern Energy
After the Montana Public Service Commission decided on an $8.2 million electricity rate reduction for NorthWestern Energy, the company protested the PSC’s decision. The PSC took up the issue yesterday and PSC Spokesman Eric Sell says the original decision stands.
"Back in March the commission approved an 8.2 million dollar rate reduction by disallowing costs related to an outage at Colstrip 4," Sell said. "The commission addressed that motion today and rejected northwestern energy's request."
NorthWestern Energy claims they acted prudently in the handling of their energy infrastructure and in their rate setting methodology, but the PSC disagreed.
"The commission found that they hadn't explored what it would cost for outage insurance which would cover the costs of these market purchases," Sell said. "They hadn't gone to the manufacturer who had caused the outage by mishandling the equipment when they had routine maintenance. Ultimately the commission found that they didn't prove that they had acted prudently and shouldn't be allowed to recover these rates."
When Coal-Strip Unit Four went down, NorthWestern Energy had to purchase energy from outside sources to make up for the loss. The final decision by the PSC, means that NorthWestern Energy cannot make up for its loss by increasing the rates customers pay.