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NorthWestern Energy files tax tracker with Montana Public Service Commission

Dec 26, 2019

Butte, Mont. – Dec. 20, 2019 – NorthWestern Energy submitted the 2020 Montana property tax tracker filing to the Montana Public Service Commission this week. The annual filing is for a portion of the change in state and local taxes paid by NorthWestern Energy.

If approved by the Montana Public Service Commission, the typical NorthWestern Energy residential electric customer will see a 24 cent increase to their monthly bill and the typical NorthWestern Energy residential natural gas customers will see a $1.46 decrease in their monthly bill.

NorthWestern Energy will implement the rate adjustments on an interim basis on Jan. 1, 2020.

This filing for the electric utility is more complicated than past filings because NorthWestern filed an electric general rate review in 2018 and the Montana Public Service Commission is expected to issue the final order on that case by Dec. 26, 2019.  The final order is expected to require that associated final rates become effective on March 1, 2020.  At that time, overall electric delivery and generation rates will reflect a $6.5 million increase, as agreed upon by NorthWestern Energy, the Large Customer Group, the Montana Consumer Counsel and other parties. This is offset by a $24.1 million tax rate decrease, as a result of the tax tracker filing, for electric service delivery and generation service.

“NorthWestern Energy’s rates include several trackers to account for increases or decreases in actual costs,” said NorthWestern Energy Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Schwartzenberger. “Each year this tracker application is for the difference between collections from customers and property taxes owed to the state of Montana allowed to be recovered through the tracker.”

NorthWestern Energy receives bills in November for Montana property taxes owed for that same year.

For the first time, this filing also includes the Invasive Species Fee, passed by the 2019 Montana Legislature and implemented on July 1, 2019. The fee is assessed on hydro facilities. NorthWestern Energy customers will pay $921,632 collectively in Invasive Species Fees annually in rates.

NorthWestern Energy Transmission and Distribution was the state of Montana’s largest property tax payer in 2018, followed by NorthWestern Energy Electric Generation, according to the Montana Department of Revenue most recent Biennial Report. NorthWestern Energy Transmission and Distribution or NorthWestern Energy Electric Generation was the largest property tax payer in 2018 in 20 Montana counties: Beaverhead; Broadwater; Cascade; Deer Lodge; Gallatin; Glacier; Granite; Jefferson; Lewis and Clark; Madison; Meagher; Mineral, Missoula; Park, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Silver Bow, Teton and Yellowstone counties.

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About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE)

NorthWestern provides electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 726,400 customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We have generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and have generated and distributed electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana since 2002. More information on NorthWestern is available on the company’s website at


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Jo Dee Black


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