Montana Meter Upgrade

NorthWestern Energy Meter Project

A contractor with NorthWestern Energy changes out a meter.

NorthWestern Energy Meter Project

Watch a video to learn about the benefits of our new meters and what to expect when your meter is changed out.

NorthWestern Energy will install 590,000 new electric meters and gas modules in Montana.

  • This technology upgrade will allow two-way communication between NorthWestern Energy and its meters on customer homes and businesses.
  • In most cases, the system will notify NorthWestern Energy of an outage. 
  • Crews can restore service faster.
  • Current energy use information is available for customer questions about bills, energy use and opportunities for energy savings
  • System voltage information identifies problems before those problems cause outages.
The energy landscape is changing — and so are our customers’ expectations. As we modernize the energy grid, including using two-way communicating meters, also known as smart meters, our customers will benefit.

Moving Toward a Sustainable Energy Future

Moving Toward a Sustainable Energy Future

The energy grid is evolving, driven by the need to support more renewable resources as we transition to an even cleaner energy future. Smart metering provides more data on grid operations, which will allow opportunities for new customer programs and technology that will help balance the energy grid with renewable resources.

What can I expect when my meter is changed?

A technician  leaves a door hangar after changing a meter.

What can I expect when my meter is changed?

Watch this video to learn more about our meter change out process.

Advanced Meter FAQs

NorthWestern Energy is bypassing customers who do not want an upgraded meter. NorthWestern Energy Montana customers will have the right to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices and may be required to pay a tariff charge, once the tariff is approved by the Montana Public Service Commission. The Montana PSC's schedule to determine NorthWestern Energy's application for the opt-out tariff is available HERE.

For more information, call NorthWestern Energy at 1-800-486-4280 or the Montana Public Service Commission at 1-800-646-6150. 

Montana law allows customers to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices according to terms and conditions set by the Montana Public Service Commission. No utility company can require the use of an advance metering device. If you have questions about your opt-out rights, please contact the Montana Public Service Commission at 1-800-646-6150.

NorthWestern Energy will begin installation in Montana in 2021. It is a four-year project.

Here is a list of approximate dates for the Montana meter upgrade project by area.

  • Butte Division – completed in June 2022
  • Missoula Division – in progress, expected completion in August 2022
  • Bozeman Division – July 2022 – January 2023
    • July 2022 – Bozeman, Belgrade, Ennis and Cameron
    • Aug 2022 –  Jeffers and McAllister
    • Sep 2022 – Big Sky, Pony, Churchill, Harrison, Gallatin Gateway, Manhattan, Norris, Three Forks and Willow Creek
    • Nov 2022 – Amsterdam
    • Dec 2022 – Logan
    • Jan 2023 – Livingston
  • Billings Division - October 2022 – October 2023
  • Havre District – March 2023 – September 2023
  • Helena Division – June 2023 – May 2024
  • Great Falls Division – Sept 2023 – June 2024
  • Lewistown District – January 2024 – June 2024
NorthWestern Energy and our partner installation company, Tru-Check, are following CDC guidelines, including social distancing and wearing a mask while interacting with our customers. Safety of our employees, our partner employees
and our customers is the top priority.

NorthWestern Energy contracted with Tru-Check to install the new digital meters, the same company that installed the first generation, one-way communication digital meters in 1998 that are in use today.

Tru-Check technicians will wear apparel with the Tru-Check logo and will carry a NorthWestern Energy contractor identification badge.

NorthWestern Energy has a contract to recycle the electric meters and gas modules in use now when new meters and modules are installed.

Yes. Customer privacy and security are NorthWestern Energy priorities. The company’s strict security standards have contributed to protecting the energy grid and customer privacy for years. The meters do not collect, store or transmit any personally identifiable information.

The meters measure total energy and cannot differentiate energy usage by appliance or anything else within a home or business. The transmitted energy use information is encrypted.

Yes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the safety limits for all RF emissions, and smart meter and module emissions make up a small portion of the limit. The RF emissions of the one-way communication meters in use now and the two-way communication meters that are being installed for this technology upgrade are both approved by the FCC. Radio frequency emissions are also produced by common household devices such as microwaves, baby monitors and TVs.

Most of the installations will occur Monday through Friday during business hours, though there will be cases when evening or weekend installations may be necessary. Customers don't need to be home.

A door hanger will let residents know their upgrade was successful. If the technician cannot perform the upgrade, a door hanger will be left with instructions to call to make an appointment.

If you are both an electric and natural gas NorthWestern Energy customer, the new electric meter will be installed first and the new gas module will be installed during a follow-up visit to your home or business within the following eight weeks.

No. The electric meters and gas modules are purchased and owned by NorthWestern Energy. They are part of our infrastructure, similar to our power poles and transformers.

NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan receives hydropower industry’s highest honor

Date: Nov 7, 2022

TYPE: News

Butte, Mont. – Nov. 7, 2022– NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan received the 32nd Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award from the National Hydropower Association.

Created in 1990, the award is the industry’s highest honor and is presented to those who show great leadership and dedication to hydropower and unwavering commitment to the industry in the spirit of its namesake, who was a developer and lover of the hydro resource.

HDR Senior Vice President Renewable Energy Service Richard Millers presents NorthWestern Energy Director Environmental & Lands Permitting & Compliance Mary Gail Sullivan with the National Hydropower Association’s Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award, the industry’s highest honor. 

Born and raised in Butte, Montana, Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation from the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation -- University of Montana, and joined the Montana Power Co.’s Environmental Department. In her role of Director of Hydro Relicensing for nine hydroelectric projects on the Missouri and Madison rivers in Montana, she lead and fostered innovative stewardship solutions for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of this resource along its 525-mile river corridor. 

Sullivan also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana.

As NorthWestern Energy’s Manager, Environmental Department, Sullivan’s poise, clear communication and positive attitude were always present when the company bought 11 hydroelectric projects and one storage reservoir from PPL Montana. She was responsible for educating the Montana Public Service Commission members, their staff and stakeholders about the purchase. Sullivan’s work provided an understanding and appreciation that NorthWestern Energy would be a responsible and dedicated steward of the resource with a focus on environmental compliance.

Sullivan carries the torch of the hydro industry with quiet equipoise, pragmatic problem-solving, and reverence for hearing all sides, her nominators said. One of her many talents is the gift of hearing diverse opinions and finding common ground, they added.

“Hydropower gives me the opportunity to work with a multitude of interests to find good solutions.  Besides generating electricity, the projects provide recreation, fish and wildlife habitats, flood control, beautiful scenery and many other benefits; and they emit zero carbon,” Sullivan said. “I deeply care about the environment, and I want to leave the world a bit better for the next generation. I believe hydropower is part of the climate change solution.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We are working to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. This includes bridging our history as a regulated utility safely providing low-cost and reliable service with our future as a globally-aware company offering a broader array of services performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 753,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Yellowstone National Park. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002. More information is available on the company's Web site at www.northwesternenergy.com.

 

Media Contacts:

Jo Dee Black

866-622-8081

jodee.black@northwestern.com