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After two weeks of proceedings, the Montana Public Service Commission has concluded its hearing on the NorthWestern Energy rate case — one week ahead of schedule.

I would like to extend my thanks to all involved in this hearing. Some witnesses traveled great distances to participate, and we appreciate them doing so. As chairman, I would also like thank our incredible legal, regulatory and administrative staff. They have worked long hours over the course of many months to prepare for this hearing, and will continue to do so while the case is under review.

Public Service Commissioners are Montana ratepayers’ first line of defense against unjustifiable rate increases. We take this responsibility seriously and have months of work ahead as we consider this case and make a final ruling. The amount of public engagement was nothing short of humbling. From every corner of our great state, Montanans attended listening sessions with their elected commissioners, came to Helena to offer public comment and submitted their comments online.

The Montana Public Service Commission is a quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative body — functioning similar to a court — with all five commissioners acting as judges. As this case is pending before the commission, commissioners are unable to express an opinion on the merits of NorthWestern Engery’s proposal. During this time, the commission will continue to provide information to the public that is required by law.

Brad Johnson, chairman

 Montana PSC

Helena

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