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NorthWestern Energy Wants More Money for Power; Corporations Oppose

Larry Kurtz points us toward a Huron Plainsman article about NorthWestern Energy’s request for the first increase in its base rate for electricity since 1981. While that base rate hasn’t changed lately, charges for fuel costs and taxes have gone up for NorthWestern customers at about two thirds of a percent annually.

In his op-ed (Mr. Kurtz properly says propaganda, NorthWestern president and CEO Bob Rowe says the magic word, investment:

We’ve worked hard to keep electric rates stable for more than 35 years, while making important investments in the infrastructure that ensures safe and reliable service and meets the needs of our customers today and into the future [Bob Rowe, op-ed, Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.16].

"Trust me with your money. I'm making investments, and my mustache is awesome."
“Trust me with your money. I’m making investments, and my mustache is awesome.”

Sure, just like we teachers and parents and voters want our Legislature to invest in education.

So who could oppose this investment? Rowe’s fellow industrialists. Check the Public Utilities Commission docket on the NorthWestern rate hike, and you’ll find a list of big industry intervenors including ethanol producers Redfield Energy, Toshiba America Business Solutions (hey, that’s Steve Sibson’s boss in Mitchell, isn’t it?), Trail King (CEO Bruce Yakley needs to save on energy so he can pay enough to keep his millennial workers), and Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart filing to intervene in NorthWestern rate case, 2015.02.06 run on NorthWestern juice).

Ah, corporations versus corporations—should be as entertaining as watching millionaires versus millionaires in professional basketball.


  1. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-18

    Keenly related, Sabrina! Dakota Access filed that application this month, so they knew about NWE’s proposed rate hike. Curious: why does Dakota Access have to file that application? Would their pumping station southeast of Redfield have normally hooked up to the local co-op or some other supplier? If so, why would they prefer to get power from NWE?

  2. Paul Seamans 2015-05-18

    Interesting. One ploy that TransCanada has used to get people on their side is to claim that the local electric cooperatives will benefit big time from the increased power sales for the pump stations. If the Keystone XL were to ever be built could TransCanada petition to buy their electricity from some other power provider, thus bypassing the local co-op? And why would Dakota Access, at this stage in their project, petition to have NWE as their provider thus alienating the local provider and risk losing local support?

  3. larry kurtz 2015-05-18

    Chris Nelson must read us; the SDGOP-owned PUC is squawking about carbon rules ending their campaign doles from the coal industry: WNAX.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2015-05-18

    It is disheartening to learn that Steve Sibson works for a crony capitalistic corporation, the very same people he claims to be fighting against.

  5. happy camper 2015-05-18

    Ha. Funny Funny to talk about investment. How many lost their shirt when they filed for bankruptcy?

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