Unless the Public Service Commission does something to stop it, many Montanans will see a gargantuan rate hike on their utility bill
Currently, Montana-Dakota Utilities provides natural gas for 86,435 customers. The utility company has asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission to raise its rates yet again, this time with an increase of $8.24 per customer. That rate hike equals a 19.83% increase in utility bills for the average household.
In a split vote on January 14, MDU requested an interim pay increase that is set to begin on February 1, of a $3.29 increase. If approved by the PSC Commissioners this evening, that will raise to an $8.24 increase per customer. Randy Pinocci was the only PSC Commissioner who voted against the earlier proposal to hike rates.
However, the proposed rate hike – and the interim increase allowed by the commissioners earlier in the month – could be overturned, with MDU forced to pay a refund if their request is found to be unnecessary. Ostensibly, MDU says they need to raise rates “to improve safety and reliability.”
This increase is ten times that usually requested.
However, an evidentiary hearing is set for February 2, in which MDU and the Montana Consumer Council will present testimony regarding the hike. After that, “listening sessions” will be hosted by MDU that will allow the public to comment.
Anyone may submit written comments to the commisioners regarding the rate hike, submitted via email to email@example.com or on the website, http://psc.met.gov by clicking “Documents and Proceedings” and following directions.