Montana Utilities Seek Natural Gas Rate Increase

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — The Public Service Commission says the state’s largest two utilities are asking for natural gas rate increases.

The PSC says it expects to make a final decision next year on the requests from Montana-Dakota Utilities and NorthWestern Energy. The companies say the money is needed to pay for the infrastructure that delivers the natural gas.

The PSC says MDU wants to raise rates about 6 percent for an average customer. NorthWestern wants a 15 percent increase.

PSC chairman Travis Kavulla said Friday the rate increases will be closely scrutinized.

He says natural gas prices are near historic lows, and notes the average customer bill has dropped about 40 percent in the last four years.

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