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Here we go again. Northwest Energy will send their hired four lobbyists with large entertaining budgets to 2019 state Legislature to impede or obstruct any expansion of solar or wind electrical power. Last session they blocked four bills that would have raised the current cap on solar.

Now NWE is out to kill rooftop solar. They have filed a case with the Public Service Commission to raise their monthly distribution fee (estimates of $600/year) for any new rooftop solar installations. This monthly fee is supposed to support the cost of the electric distribution system. But NWE says current solar customers are not paying their fair share. The current fee is $60/year, so a tenfold increase.

Also, NWE is updating their plan for future electrical energy that will be released Jan. 18 in Helena. Their previous PSC rejected proposed plan had natural gas (methane) plants being built for $1.3 billion and no new renewables.

So while NWE spends large advertising funds to represent their green side, their actions at the Legislature and PSC are typical large corporation (this is a monopoly supposedly regulated by PSC) totally out to make a profit for the shareholders. This dark side can make more money on natural gas plants rather than wind or solar.

Over 80 percent of Montanans support the expansion of solar and wind electricity. Speak up by telling your legislators and Public Service Commissioners that you want the current caps removed and that you want NWE to be moved toward 100 percent renewables.

Bruce Bender


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