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Concerns over NWE dam purchases

2014-08-29T00:00:00Z 2014-08-29T11:36:05Z Concerns over NWE dam purchases The Billings Gazette
August 29, 2014 12:00 am

Northwestern Energy has applied to our PSC to purchase 11 hydro-power dams, providing a long-term, renewable energy source for Montana. The total generation capacity is 633 MW, of which Kerr Dam (to be sold to the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes) has capacity of 194 MW, or 30 percent of the total project. I understand Kerr is valued at only $30 million, or 3 percent of the $900 million purchase; that $30 million will be removed from our rate base. My concern is that Kerr is 30 percent of the generation, valued at one-tenth (3 percent) of the purchase, meaning we ratepayers give up a third of the resource, and still pay on 97 percent of the cost!

My other concern is that the PSC must mandate that NW Energy and its successors, should NWE cease to exist, be bound to remove any hydro-resource from our rate base if the resource is no longer generating power for Montana rate payers.

Craig Pierson

Billings

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