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Frigid Montana temperatures impacting utility bills

Feb 25, 2019

Butte, Mont. – Winter is challenging this year, from record cold temperatures to consistent snow fall, Montana is experiencing extreme weather conditions and it’s reflected in customer bills.

Winter in NorthWestern Energy’s Montana service territory has been colder than normal – 35 percent colder than the 15-year temperature average in February. NorthWestern Energy’s natural gas and electricity systems are reliably keeping up with the high demand. NorthWestern Energy’s Montana electric demand hit a new peak load in early February. Previously, the highest peak load was hit in August 2018.

So far in February 2019, the Montana gas transmission system has carried nearly 1 billion cubic feet of gas more than in February 2018 for use by NorthWestern Energy’s customers.

Higher energy demand due to the prolonged deep cold is reflected in higher customer bills. Customers can see the comparisons provided on their bill that displays usage patterns for the current billing period compared with the previous billing period and the same time last year. The corresponding average daily temperatures over the periods are provided to highlight the correlation between usage and weather.

Customers should call NorthWestern Energy, 888-467-2669, right away if they are worried about paying winter utility bills. Options ranging from individual payment installment plans to information on how to access emergency bill assistance through available federal, state and non-profit sources.

Energy Savings Tips

Bundle up inside rather than turning up the temperature on your thermostat. Wear a cozy sweater and warm socks. Curl up in a blanket when reading or watching TV.

Seal up any air leaks that you might feel around windows, near doors.

More tips are available at NorthWesternEnergy.com.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

For natural gas customers, deep and blowing snow can block heating and appliance exhaust vents, which can cause equipment to malfunction, resulting in a loss of heat or possibly a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide in homes and businesses. Look for your natural gas appliance vents – which often are on the roof – to ensure they are clear of snow.

If at any time if you smell a strong and persistent odor similar to rotten eggs, leave your home immediately and avoid using any electric appliances such as light switches, garage door openers and phones—including a cell phone. When you are at a safe distance away, call NorthWestern Energy or 9-1-1 to report the concern. Stay away from the building until someone from the energy company or a first responder tells you it's safe.

Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide is odorless and may be present when a fuel is not burned completely due to inadequate combustion or when exhaust vents become clogged. Carbon monoxide symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and confusion.

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 718,300 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at www.northwesternenergy.com.


Media Contact:
Jo Dee Black
(866) 622-8081
Jodee.Black@northwestern.com


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