It's been interesting to read in The Gazette the pros and cons regarding Senate Bill 331. SB331 essentially acknowledges that the Colstrip power plants are no longer profitable but, if NorthWestern Energy is willing to risk investing in them, they will be given the green light to charge ratepayers whatever is necessary to safeguard their profits, or worse, charge customers for services that will not be provided. The pro, of course, is a perpetual profit machine for NorthWestern Energy. The con being that the ratepayers will be footing the bill, potentially even for services they will never receive.
As SB331 suggests, the coal-fired power plants at Colstrip are nearing the end of their profitability and relevance in a modern, sustainable energy economy. Unfortunately, this bill's single focus on securing corporate profits at the expense of many who can least afford to pay is simply mean-spirited and does nothing for Montana, or Montanans. I thank the legislators who have already spoken out and voted against SB331, and thank the many community members who continue to voice clear and informed opposition to SB331.