By Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette
A months-long rise in electric rates for NorthWestern Energy Customers could hit 28% under a proposal before Montana’s Public Service Commission.
Details of the historically large rate increase for residential customers surfaced mid-week after opposing parties in the utility’s general rate case asked NorthWestern to account for all increases since its rate case became official August 2022.
Commissioners who will decide the matter were concerned by the revelation that residential customers, who as recently as last August paid an average $91.27 a month for power, would be paying as much as $304.32 more for electricity annually, or an additional $25.36 a month under terms now sought by NorthWestern.
Natural gas customers would see a slight decrease in base rates compared to eight months ago, a resulting decrease of about $35.76 a year, though gas prices are adjusted monthly to reflect market purchases.