Details for MONTANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISS - Ad from 2019-04-12

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE REGULATION
BEFORE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
IN THE MATTER OF the Application for
Approval of NorthWestern Energy’s Natural
Gas Universal System Benefits Charge Rate
Adjustment Tracker

) REGULATORY DIVISION
)
) DOCKET NO. D2019.3.12
)

NOTICE OF APPLICATION AND INTERVENTION DEADLINE
The State of Montana requires utilities to operate a Universal System
Benefits (“USB”) program that promotes cost-effective energy conservation and low-income energy assistance initiatives, funded by a utility
consumer tax. Mont. Code Ann. § 69-3-1402(15) (2017). To facilitate
these goals, NorthWestern Energy (“NorthWestern”) operates a portfolio
of natural gas USB programs that focus on low-income weatherization
and fuel switching, low-income energy bill discounts, emergency lowincome financial assistance for heating bills (through Energy Share), and
residential energy audits. During 2018, the NorthWestern natural gas USB
program expenditures totaled $3,732,738. Of this amount, $1,013,917
was spent to complete energy audits under the E+ Residential Home
Energy Audit Program; $951,999 was spent reducing energy bills for lowincome customers; $1,393,000 to weatherize low-income households;
and $336,000 to provide emergency heating bill assistance to Energy
Share of Montana participants.
On March 29, 2019, NorthWestern filed its Application with the Montana
Public Service Commission (“Commission”) to decrease its natural gas
USB charge to recover a target revenue of $3,449,630, and requests
an interim tariff rate effective May 1, 2019, and then permanently upon
Commission consideration and approval. The revenue amount includes
recovery of budgeted expenditures of $3,619,624 for the 2019 program
year, an under-collection of $85,722 from 2017, and an over-collection of
$255,725 from 2018. For a typical residential customer, the proposed rate
will result in a monthly bill decrease of approximately $0.27 per month.
NorthWestern’s current and proposed USB rates per dekatherm are:
Rate Classes
Residential
General Service
Tier 1
Tier 2

Current
$0.0146525
$0.0146525
$0.0076161
$0.0146525

Proposed
$0.0120071
$0.0120071
$0.0062410
$0.0120071

Difference
($0.0026454)
($0.0026454)
($0.0013751)
($0.0026454)

In addition, Commission Order No. 7597b from NorthWestern’s 2018
Natural Gas USB filing (D2018.3.19) required that NorthWestern provide
a budget and description of a Natural Gas USB program based on the
minimum funding amount in Mont. Admin. R. 38.5.7020, and explain
the impacts such a reduction in funding would have on the current USB
programs and customers. NorthWestern’s Application provides such
a description, but advocates for continued funding of natural gas USB
programs at current levels as summarized above.
A copy of NorthWestern’s Application is available for inspection at the
Commission’s business offices, 1701 Prospect Avenue, P.O. Box 202601,
Helena, Montana 59620-2601; and the Montana Consumer Counsel
(“MCC”), 111 North Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1B, P.O. Box 201703,
Helena, Montana 59620-1703, telephone (406) 444-2771. The MCC is
available to represent the interests of the consuming public in this matter.
The Commission invites parties directly affected by NorthWestern’s
Application to intervene. To intervene, parties must file a Petition to Intervene with the Commission no later than May 1, 2019. By the intervention deadline, petitioners must submit: (1) an electronic petition to the
Commission website at http://psc.mt.gov (“Electronic Filing” under “For
Regulated Utilities” tab); (2) physically deliver or mail the original petition
to the Commission at the address above; (3) a hard copy to the MCC
address above, and to NorthWestern’s Counsel, Ann B. Hill, NorthWestern Energy, 208 N. Montana Avenue, Suite 205, Helena, Montana 59601.
The Commission will not post an e-filed document to its website until it
receives the original from the petitioner.
The Commission also invites parties who do not wish to formally intervene to submit written public comments on the matter to the Commission address stated above, or through its web-based comment form at
http://psc.mt.gov (“Comment on a Proceeding” under the “Documents &
Proceedings” tab).
BY THE MONTANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
BRAD JOHNSON, Chairman
BOB LAKE, Vice Chairman
ROGER KOOPMAN, Commissioner
TONY O’DONNELL, Commissioner
RANDALL PINOCCI, Commissioner
April 12, 2019

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