UPDATE: NorthWestern announced it will seek PSC approval to force ratepayers to pay for an additional ownership share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. Click here for more details.

UPDATE 2: The PSC took public comment on the Resource Plan until January 6, 2020. The PSC now has until May 22, 2020 to issue its own comments on the plan.

UPDATE 3: The PSC hired Synapse Energy Economics to review the Resource Plan and the report was filed with the Commission on February 14th. The report is extensive and detailed in its criticism of NorthWestern’s plan and the modeling used to create it, essentially saying the plan was rigged to result in gas plants being chosen. 

The full report can be found here. 

A local news report can be found here.


PSC Listening Sessions were held around Montana to receive public comment on the plan. Almost unanimously ratepayers turned out to tell the PSC to object to NorthWestern’s “more coal, more gas, no renewables” plan.

The session in Bozeman was very well attended and was recorded by KGVM. Click here listen to that session.

At the Helena listening session, MEIC’s Anne Hedges provided public comment specifically about the Resource Plan ignoring millions of dollars in costs and risk that the Colstrip power plant poses to ratepayers. Click here to see those comments.

Information About the Resource Plan

NorthWestern Energy wants to build a fleet of expensive fracked gas power plants, continue using a filthy coal-fired power plant for 20 years, and force Montana families and small businesses to pay for all of it. 

That’s the upshot of the company’s “2019 Resource Procurement Plan.” 

Utilities periodically create plans showing how they will provide power at the lowest reasonable cost over the next 20 years. Unfortunately, NorthWestern’s plan appears to have been created to pad the pockets of its company executives and shareholders with ratepayer dollars (while worsening the climate crisis in the process).

What’s in the plan? About 800 megawatts of new fracked gas plants built by 2025, no new wind or solar power plants, and the Colstrip power plant (NorthWestern is a part-owner) running for 20 more years.

The plan is important. The PSC and others use it to inform key decisions, such as approving or denying new power plants.


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