Analysts at the Montana Public Service Commission found that Montana Senate Bill 331 could increase energy bills to the tune of more than $721 per household. The bill would turn a century of electrical utility law on its head by preventing the use of an evidence-based process in determining our power bills, preventing public oversight and guaranteeing that NorthWestern Energy can pass on tens of millions of dollars in costs to Montana households — legally granting the company guaranteed profits while saddling us with all the debt and risk.
Our Legislature should learn from the copper kings of yore and stop proposing to let wealthy, well-connected monopoly corporations write laws that give themselves sweetheart welfare bonuses at the expense of working Montana families.
This fly-by-night bill was introduced at the last minute, and so is flying through the Legislature with no time for real discussion, debate, and thoughtful consensus and decision-making. It’s the worst form of public policy, and the type of lack of deliberation that leads to sloppy decisions — in short, no way to make policies that impact our power bills.
The House of Representatives and/or Gov. Steve Bullock should stop this bad bill.