BUTTE, Mont., June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — NorthWestern Energy has reached an agreement with the Montana Consumer Counsel and the Large Customer Group in regard to its requested increase in its natural gas delivery service and production rates in Montana. The three parties are asking the Montana Public Service Commission to approve the agreement.
NorthWestern Energy has made sizable investments in its Montana natural-gas production, transmission and distribution system in recent years, seeking to maintain safety and service reliability and comply with federal requirements.
Since 2005, that investment has increased by $300 million to over $742 million today. During that same period, a typical residential customer’s bill, using 100 therms per month, decreased from approximately $106.59 in 2005 to $74.11 today, due in large part to declining natural gas supply costs. If approved, the agreement would result in an approximately 2.9 percent, or $2.12 increase per month, to $76.23.
While customers have benefited from natural gas bill decreases in recent years, NorthWestern is seeking the rate increase due to the increased investment in the system and the increased costs of operating, maintaining and administering a safe and reliable natural gas system across Montana.
The overall increase in delivery services and production charges in the agreement is $5.7 million, based upon a 6.96 percent rate of return (9.55 percent return on equity, 4.67 percent cost of debt and 53.2 percent debt to rate base). NorthWestern requested an increase of $10.9 million in its initial application last fall.
NorthWestern has about 190,000 natural-gas customers in Montana, and provides natural gas service in 117 Montana communities.
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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company’s website at www.northwesternenergy.com.
SOURCE NorthWestern Corporation