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NorthWestern Energy supports the Montana Energy Security Act of 2019

Mar 14, 2019

Butte, Mont. – Montana Sen. Tom Richmond, R.-Billings introduced the Montana Energy Security Act of 2019, which includes language to define greater details of a potential purchase of an additional share of Colstrip Unit 4.

The Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 would allow NorthWestern Energy to buy up to 150 megawatts of Colstrip Unit 4 for $1.

NorthWestern Energy supports the Montana Energy Security Act of 2019. It creates a framework for NorthWestern Energy to buy an additional share of Colstrip Unit 4 to provide 24/7 energy at a very low cost and helps keep rates affordable for our Montana customers. The definitions in the Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 give Montanans a clear understanding of what a potential additional purchase of a share of Colstrip Unit 4 by NorthWestern Energy would include.

“Planned retirements in the near future of coal and other energy plants in the West mean continued reliance on purchasing electricity from the market to meet high energy demand puts our Montana customers at risk,” said NorthWestern Energy Vice President Energy Supply and Montana Government Affairs John Hines. “That risk includes high market prices and frankly, not enough energy on the market to meet needs.  The very high price for electricity from the market for the entire month of February should be a clear warning about the risk our customers are facing.  We need more owned energy generation in the portfolio to serve our Montana customers and extensive research shows this is the most cost efficient way to accomplish that. We are committed to affordable rates for our Montana customers.”

The Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 would allow NorthWestern Energy to recover capital investments associated with the 150 megawatt share of Colstrip Unit 4, up to $40 million, for five years, through electric utility rates paid by customers.  Montana Public Service Commission approval for all other rates related to NorthWestern Energy’s current and future ownership in Colstrip Unit 4 is required.

The Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 requires that liability tied to the 150 megawatt share of Colstrip Unit 4 that NorthWestern Energy may buy for $1 for the future decommissioning of Colstrip Unit 4 and site remediation has to remain with the current owner. The liability for those costs up to the point of a transaction doesn’t transfer to NorthWestern Energy or its customers if a purchase is made.

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)
NorthWestern provides electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 726,400 customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We have generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and have generated and distributed electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana since 2002. More information on NorthWestern 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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