It’s like deja vu all over again.
The Public Service Commission just keeps doing what they’ve been doing for the past several years. It seems they get marching orders from NorthWestern Energy, and even though they are supposed to advocate for a fair price for the ratepayers who elected them, the current five Republican commissioners appear to do the opposite. Montanans have had rate increases with few questions asked by these commissioners for the past eight years. They rubber stamp whatever NWE wants.
Most recently, the PSC agreed to let NWE keep the terms of a five-year coal contract secret. This coal price, which ratepayers will be paying for in our utility bills, should be public information. Now the utility wants approval to buy 30% more of Colstrip Unit 4 for the bargain price of $1. What a deal!
What NWE is not disclosing are the hidden costs of repairs and maintenance to Unit 4 that could amount to $300 million. That cost will be passed on to us, the ratepayers of Montana. We will be paying for this expense for decades to come.
Who benefits from these rate hikes? The shareholders of NorthWestern Energy. Whose side is the PSC on?
Now there is fighting, spying and name-calling between these Republican commissioners. Shame on them! This chaos and dysfunction has rendered them incapable of doing their job. It is time to vote them out of office.