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PSC soliciting comments on increased power rates


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People in the Havre area can hear about, and make comment on, price increases predicted in electrical rates.

The Public Service Commission is holding a meeting Tuesday at the Triangle Telephone Cooperative hospitality room in Havre about the proposed portfolio of electrical supply for default customers of NorthWestern Energy.

Predictions about how much the cost of electrical supply will increase vary. NorthWestern predicts about 12 percent for residential and most small business users.

Other groups, like the Montana Public Interest Research Group predictions of increases of 20 percent or more.

The portolio of electricity is the last step in electrical deregulation, passed by the Montana Legislature in 1997.

Deregulation allowed customers to choose their own supply of electricity. The portfolio the PSC is considering will supply electricity to customers who have not chosen their supplier, default customers of NorthWestern.

NorthWestern's purchase from Montana Power Company of the electrical supply lines and infrastructure that transmit electricity was approved by the PSC this year.

The cost of electrical supply has been frozen since deregulation passed in 1997. Costs of distribution have been increased, but any supply cost increase because of the new default portfolio rates will be the first in five years.

The PSC meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Triangle Telephone Cooperative hospitality room on U.S. Highway 2 West.


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