Source dailyinterlake.com Gary Buchanan if former director of Montana Department Commerce, former chairman Montana Banking Board and former chairman Montana Board of Investments.
The fact that NorthWestern’s portfolio is ill-prepared does not justify the company sticking small and large businesses, irrigators, and industrial operations with uncontrolled costs. Believe me, companies looking to come to Montana will look at energy costs and the inability of our State to control them. Senate Bill 379 is simple. It will raise electricity rates without anyone being able to protect Montana consumers and businesses from these increasing monthly bills. Higher electricity rates are simply bad for Montana. This bill is even worse than last session’s Senate Bill 331, which the legislature wisely killed. The sponsor of that bill was defeated in the last election. Angry at my opposition to SB 331, a senior executive at NorthWestern Energy asked me, “What do you want me to do, Buchanan, burn firewood?” Pitiful to have such an inadequate power portfolio.
The legislature and the Governor should protect Montana’s economy and ability to attract entrepreneurs which means they should defeat Senate Bill 379. Almost 20 years ago, I warned the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) of NorthWestern Energy’s impending bankruptcy. NorthWestern was actually flying its CEO home every weekend to Florida by private jet. Ironically, the Chairman of the PSC at that time is now the CEO of Northwestern Energy — Bob Rowe. He should know better than to push such an anti-business bill and rely on corporate welfare to help his poorly prepared utility.
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