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Fri Mar 15, 2019, 06:08 AM

Montana GOP again tries to save Colstrip with revised bill

Republican legislators are taking another run at bailing out Colstrip Power Plant, capping some costs, but still obligating NorthWestern Energy customers to a 30-year repayment plan of the utility’s $407 million Colstrip investment.

The new legislation, SB 331, which was introduced Wednesday, comes after Billings Sen. Tom Richmond announced that he’ll abandon his previous attempt to save at least a portion of the four-unit coal-fired power plant. The earlier proposal allowed NorthWestern Energy to buy a larger share of the troubled Colstrip Power Plant and then pass all future costs onto its customers.

The power plant is owned by Pennsylvania-based Talen Energy, South Dakota-headquartered NorthWestern and four regulated utilities based in either Oregon and Washington. Concerned about climate change, both states are pressing their utilities to pull the plug on coal power. NorthWestern indicates it has a chance pick up a bigger Colstrip share for the token price of $1.

The new bill, sponsored by Richmond, would prevent NorthWestern from billing its customers for more than $40 million in operating costs accumulated over five consecutive years.

Read more: https://mtstandard.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/montana-gop-again-tries-to-save-colstrip-with-revised-bill/article_2c50461e-f393-5564-bdb1-f655db085f04.html

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