November 8, 2013 |

Lawmakers look at NorthWestern Energy dam purchase

HELENA — NorthWestern Energy officials are saying their planned $900 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric dams will mean decades of stable customer rates after an initial increase.

NorthWestern CEO Bob Rowe and vice president of supply John Hines outlined the utility's agreement to buy the PPL Montana dams to an interim legislative committee on Friday.

The deal must be approved by state and federal regulators.

Hines says the acquisition will mean an initial increase of about 5 percent, or $4 per month, on a typical residential bill.

But he says the dams' 633 megawatts of power will be 40 percent of its generation portfolio and will not be subject to swings in market price.

Hines says that and the flat cost of operating the dams means greater long-term rate stability for customers.

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