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Important Message  Due to a system maintenance scheduled to begin at 6pm on Thursday, November 14th, our Contact Centers will be staffed for emergency purposes only on Friday, November 15th and our Walk-in Offices will be closed on Friday, November 15th. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 18th. Access to Online Customer Care services will be unavailable during this system maintenance.
 

Private Generation

 
Netmetering

 

When NorthWestern Energy customers install solar panels, a small wind turbine and/or small scale hydro at their house, they can produce energy themselves to electrify their homes. These customers can request a “net meter” from NorthWestern Energy. Net metering allows any energy not used by the customer to be exported back to the electric grid, and this unused energy is available as a credit to the customer on future bills.

However, the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. When the solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro systems don’t produce enough energy to meet the customer’s needs, NorthWestern Energy makes up the difference.

While net-metering customers supply some of their own electricity, they still use the grid for some of their energy needs.

NorthWestern Energy recently filed an electric rate review with the Montana Public Service Commission. In that review, we are asking to create a separate class of customers for new residential net-metering customers and establish a separate rate from them. Additionally, the value new net-metering customers receive for their excess energy production would more closely reflect the actual value under the new proposed rate.

We are proposing to require future net metering customers to pay their fair share of the grid through an additional charge called a “demand charge” on their monthly bill. This applies only to future net metering customers. Existing net metering customers will be grandfathered. If a customer is grandfathered and sells their property the new owner of the property will also be grandfathered. As a grandfathered net metering customer, you would have a one-time option to switch to the new private-generation class or remain in the bill class where you reside today. 

Under our proposal, those customers who do not net meter will no longer be required to subsidize new net metering customers.

NorthWestern Energy supports renewable energy, as well as net metering. However, these rate changes are important to balance the needs of all customers and for the system to be fair to all.

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about private generation

Interested in installing a photovoltaic, a small wind generation or a micro-hydro system at your residence? Review our net metering process.

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