Current, ex-regulators ask lawmakers to reject Colstrip bill
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Ten current and former Montana Public Service Commissioners have signed a letter urging state lawmakers to reject a bill that would allow NorthWestern Energy to purchase a share of a coal-fired power plant without commission oversight.
The Great Falls Tribune reports six Democrats and four Republicans signed the letter, including current GOP commissioners Tony O’Donnell and Roger Koopman.
The letter warns the bill would eliminate the PSC’s regulatory function, put the utility in charge of determining its rates and weaken consumer protections.
Supporters of the bill say it would allow NorthWestern to quickly increase its ownership share in the Colstrip power plant and avoid a long approval process and a possible court challenge by environmental groups.
The bill also would allow the utility to spend up to $75 million over 10 years for upgrades and repairs.
Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com