What's out there, Dad?
Posted by Dick Ellingson (+1389) 10 months ago
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Posted by Hanson (+3157) 10 months ago
What’s out there, Dad, perhaps another utility rate increase? The Public Service Commission, led by the political hack who the Republicans, including the governor and Daines, wanted on our Supreme Court, will probably give it to us.

How many Eastern Montana residents or small businesses can afford more economic hits by price gouging corporations? If you haven’t been reading the legal notices in the Miles City Daily Star, and most people haven’t, you are probably unaware that MDU has filed for another rate increase. This time the proposed rate change would increase the average residential customer’s rates by 19.2%.

The suits at MDU’s corporate headquarters probably decided, since the other corporations and business entities, such as oil, grocery, pharmaceutical and other providers of essential products, are busy gouging the public, MDU should join the glutenous party at the public trough. Why not, since the Montana Public Service Commissioners have here-to-fore issued a PSC rule that severely limits public participation and the ability to oppose rate increase proposals.

If you want to enter the fray over this latest proposal to further gouge us, contact the Montana Consumer Counsel in Helena at 111 North Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1B, Helena, MT 59601,
(406) 444-2771. You can also can register on the PSC’s website to be added to the Watch List for notice of filings in this docket and while there submit a written comment on this proposal to further gouge we consumers. Further, any interested party affected by this proposed rate increase can intervene in this docket by filing a petition to intervene with the PSC by December 14, 2022. A party seeking intervention must also mail a copy of the petition to Montana’s Consumer Counsel and to MDU’s attorney, Michael Green, Crowley Fleck PLLP, 900 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 200, Helena, MT 59601. Finally, if you do not wish to formally intervene you can submit written public comments to the PSC at 1701 Prospect Ave., P.O. Box 202601, Helena, MT 59620.
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Posted by Karen L. Morris (+2262) 10 months ago
Reply to Hanson (#383878)
Thank you for the heads up. I suspect you are more than correct that most people don't read all of the legal notices. I confess I don't subscribe to the Star because I seldom find much I wish to read with regard to things that have local impacts. For those of us that are frugal, the cost of the paper doesn't always seem to justify the expenditure. In full disclosure, I do have a kind neighbor that will let me read her paper when I want to.

I find it interesting that the one of the Star's main front page articles in the Friday edition (I can see headlines on line without subscribing) was about the deaths of the Idaho students (including a lovely photo). I could read that article and see the photo on the AP website. In contrast, the Glendive Ranger Review had a lengthy article regarding the proposed rate increase on the front page (continued on page 9). I have had positive interactions with the Ranger in the past (they stocked my Dad's book and sold it) and, as of this morning, I have a one month on line subscription which costs a whopping $4.33. If I were more astute on "things computer" I would have attempted to share the entire article (I tried but had issues getting it done). Below is the excerpt from the end of the article (which does include the credits, as is appropriate.

"Aside from the request for a rate increase of 19%, MDU is also requesting the Montana PSC to approve an interim rate increase in the amount of about $1.8 million. According to Hanson, that amount is included in the total request for the increase of $10.5 million and simply allows them to begin collecting from customers while a decision on the request is pending. "[what] that does is it allows the company to start recovering some of those investments while it's going through this regulatory process," he said. If the interim rate increase is approved, MDU customers would likely see an average increase on their bills of about $2.33 per month while the Montana PSC is making a decision over the next several months. As the Montana PSC reviews MDU' request, the public is encouraged to submit a petition of intervention or public comment by mailing letters, online at www.psc.mt.gov or email to [email protected] by Wednesday, Dec. 14. Reach Brendan Heidner at [email protected]."

From my other research (yes, dangerous, but at least I try), it looks as if at least part of the increase will be on the base amount so, even if you use no electricity at all, you will still have to pay it. I have looked at some of the past desired increases and they wanted to include passing along costs for things that were not even in the local area. I couldn't figure out exactly what all of the costs in this one were.

Once again, thank you for bringing this to my attention so I can at least attempt to educate myself. I am fully aware that we can make a change if we speak up.
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Posted by Karen L. Morris (+2262) 9 months ago
I confess to running a bit behind; however, I did get a letter drafted and emailed to the PSC (tomorrow being the deadline). I received the following response this morning:

Hello Karen,

Thank you for taking the time to submit comments to the Public Service Commission regarding Montana-Dakota Utilities Application and Notice of Change in General Electric Rates, Docket 2022.11.099. The Commission welcomes public comment on all matters impacting ratepayers and regulated public utilities in Montana. Your comment has been routed to all five Public Service Commissioners, as well as the work team for this docket.

The Commissioners are committed to giving every detail of this docket a thorough examination. Over the course of the time frame legally allowed to process the case, we hope to use your comments and other public comments to surface relevant issues. We will balance the regulated utility’s request against the needs of Montana consumers and are committed to seeking the long-term best interest of the people of Montana in this instance and all others.

If you wish to review activity in this docket, go to our webpage at http://psc.mt.gov, Documents and Proceedings, Search Documents, and then put in the docket number referenced above.

You may sign up for the watch list for this docket by going to our webpage and clicking on the EDDI icon. From there you will need to create an OKTA account and then a profile. Once your profile has been created you will be able to sign up for the watch list for individual dockets.

You may also want to contact the Montana Consumer Counsel. That office was established in the Montana Constitution to advocate on behalf of consumers in matters before the Commission. Their number is 406-444-2771.

If at any time you have questions or concerns regarding a regulated utility company, please feel free to contact our office at 1-800-646-6150. The Commission values your input.


Katie Sheard
Consumer Relations Representative
Montana Public Service Commission

[email protected] http://psc.mt.gov/
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