As a customer of NorthWestern Energy, I have paid rather close attention to the proposed purchase by NorthWestern Energy of dams owned by Pennsylvania Power and Light. This proposed sale/purchase between them is subject to review by the Montana Public Service Commission. I have questions concerning this transaction and do not believe its approval would benefit NorthWestern Energy customers here in Montana.
NorthWestern Energy is incorporated in South Dakota and does business in Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana with corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The spin and PR seems to be that this sale by PPL to NorthWestern will serve to ensure a long range power supply for Montana customers.
So an out-of-state corporation is proposing that the Montana Public Service Commission approve a rate increase on Montana customers. Has there been any interplay between South Dakota and Nebraska State Public Service Commissions or their counterparts? Are Montana customers going to be the only revenue source for NorthWestern to purchase PPL dams in Montana?
So far I have heard nothing about revenue that will be available to NorthWestern from selling the electricity generated from these dams. There needs to be more disclosure by the powers that be about this proposed sale and purchase.
The Montana Public Service Commission is supposed to represent both Montana consumers and businesses fairly and impartially. PPL dams produce electricity. They can sell electricity on the open market. There is a market ready to buy that power and it is being marketed and sold. But yet NorthWestern wants a rate increase placed upon the Montana customers to pay for them.
If the dams are not profitable enough for PPL to hang onto them, then a price for them should be commensurate for NorthWestern to purchase them without the Montana customers having to subsidize their purchase.
We need to have more daylight, or sunshine or whatever, on what is going on with the PSC. They need to be far more open with the public on this matter.
I believe that we need to recall what happened when the Montana Power debacle occurred a few years ago and it was backroom politics by the powers that were in office at the time that brought it about. If this goes forward as proposed by NorthWestern as it is proposed, then the Montana consumer is going to pay for those dams and a multi-multi million dollar donation/gift is given to NorthWestern.
I believe we need far more information from our PSC. Does anyone know what the purchase price is going to be?