Montana Public Service Commission Hosted Listening Hearing at Sidney Extension Office

The Montana Public Service Commission hosted a listening session on Tuesday, July 25, at the MSU Extension Office, Sidney, MT, and by Zoom regarding MDU’s request to raise rates by 9.1% in their service areas.

After recapping the request and subsequent reactions by the Montana Consumer Council and Denbury Onshore, LLC by the Commission’s Chief Legal Counsel Lucas Hamilton, and Montana Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci opened the listening session up to the attendees both at the extension office and over Zoom.

John Mercer, Sidney said that he thinks they should double the increase just to end the meetings. He also said that because of MDU getting rid of methods of electricity production that he feels are reliable such, as coal, and switching to solar power and wind generators, methods he feels are not as durable, the rates will continue to go up anyways.

Ann Hoff, Glendive, disagreed with Mercer on the effectiveness of solar power but also was against MDU’s request.

In total, 10 of the 12 people speaking from Sidney, Richland County, Miles City, Terry, and Glendive both in person and over Zoom expressed that they were not in favor of MDU’s request for the increase in rates.

Various reasons were given ranging from, “MDU needs to tighten their belt and work through the current economic climate with what they have like everyone else is” and “there are too many people, businesses, and organizations who are experiencing financial hardship in MDU’s service areas over eastern Montana and cannot take the hit” to “9.1% is too high of an increase” and “if North Dakota is going to be benefitted the most by MDU’s improvements then why should we have to get the rate increase?”

When the meeting was adjourned Commissioner Pinocci assured everyone that the Public Service Commission was still taking public comments in writing, by phone at 1-800-646-6150, or by email to [email protected].

 

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