SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
NorthWestern Energy's new CEO says he expects the utility to increase its operations in South Dakota and has no plans to move its headquarters from Sioux Falls. "This (South Dakota) is a good place to do business. We believe we have great opportunities to continue to invest here," said Bob Rowe. Rowe, a former Montana Public Service Commission chairman, was asked about the headquarters status, given his intention to split his work time between Butte, Mont., and Sioux Falls and to keep living in Helena, Mont. "My intention is that no one has to move, that the corporate support functions that currently are provided here would continue to be provided here (in Sioux Falls)," Rowe said. Rowe replaced Michael Hanson as CEO and is working for a company he once oversaw as a Montana PSC regulator. He was on the panel when NorthWestern filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after racking up more than $2 billion in debt. Rowe said the three goals he had for Nor thWes ter n when it was in bankruptcy remain relevant: be financially sound, focus on the utility business and stress customer and community service. No r thWe s t e rn had ne t income of $53.2 million in 2007, up from $37.9 million in 2006. S o u t h Da k o t a Pu b l i c Utilities Commission chairman Gary Hanson said Rowe "will make an excellent CEO. I appreciate that he has reached out immediately to all of the commissioners and has met with us." Rowe said NorthWestern is expanding its natural gas dist r ibut ion sys t em, adding about 300 homes in the Tea area near Sioux Falls. (AP)