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NorthWestern Energy Files Annual Electricity Supply-Cost Tracker to Montana Public Service Commission

Jun 08, 2016

Butte, Mont. – June 8, 2016 – NorthWestern Energy has submitted its annual electricity supply cost tracker to the Montana Public Service Commission for review with the July rate remaining essentially the same as last year’s monthly rate.

The annual tracking period begins July 1 and ends on the following June 30. The supply cost rate that appears on customer bills fluctuates slightly on a monthly basis depending on market supply costs and other factors. The annual filing serves to true-up actual vs. estimated costs over the previous tracking period and sets the new benchmark for the coming tracker year. The typical bill calculations used in the filing include the change in the Competitive Transition Charge for Qualifying Facilities rate which is also effective July 1, 2016. These rates, when multiplied by the customer’s usage, are included in the total bill along with the energy delivery charge.

Overall, energy costs remain very stable due to regulated ownership of generation resources. The July 2016 rate of approximately $0.067 cents per kilowatt hour compares to the nearly identical $0.067 in July 2015 and $0.062 in July 2014.

The current charge for deferred supply costs is decreasing slightly to reflect the difference between the over and under collection of supply costs over the course of the year. Unlike the supply cost rate that fluctuates slightly every month, the deferred supply cost is a fixed annual amount that is adjusted every July and depending on the situation may act as either a credit or a charge on customer bills.

The deferred supply cost charge is changing from $0.0038 per kilowatt hour to $0.0037 per kilowatt hour. This change includes both an under and over collection of energy costs from the company’s regulated and market resources, and includes a refund plus interest of approximately $11.8 million ordered by the PSC in previous cases.

NorthWestern uses an annualized monthly usage average of 750 kilowatt hours to determine the potential bill impact of any rate change for typical residential electricity customers. Based on this average, the combined effect of all of these changes is a net decrease of $0.31 per month or about $3.72 per year. Individual results vary due to actual usage.

As a reminder, energy supply cost rates adjust monthly and have remained very stable through the purchase of regulated hydro, wind and coal resources. Energy market supply costs are dependent on weather conditions and overall supply and demand factors that are not entirely predictable. Energy delivery costs do not adjust on a monthly basis and are subject to periodic regulatory rate reviews.

Anyone interested in reviewing the filing in its entirety may do so by accessing it at or by contacting the Montana Public Service Commission either at its office in Helena or at For more news about NorthWestern Energy, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (NorthWestern_MT). 

About NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at

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