Northwestern Energy forced to raise rates because of federal government. When will the war on energy end?

Catch the latest release from Northwestern Energy in Huron:

NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) today filed a request to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) to increase electric rates later in 2015.

The company’s request to increase revenues by approximately $26.5 million dollars equates to an increase of about $16.76 dollars per month for a typical residential electric customer or about 56 cents per day.   However, the actual impact of the requested rate increase on individual customer bills will vary depending on the customer’s rate class and amount of energy used.

The SDPUC will determine the actual amount of any rate adjustments, which could be greater or less than initially requested and it will determine the date that new rates will go into effect.  However, rates are not expected to change earlier than July 1, 2015.

“This increase is largely the result of recent investments to meet federal environmental and infrastructure regulatory mandates as well as the investments that we’ve made to improve our infrastructure to maintain the high-level of reliability that our customers expect and deserve,” said Bob Rowe, CEO.  “We’ve managed the business well over the years and have avoided the need to increase rates for 34 years.  It’s amazing to think that the last general electric rate increase was in 1980.  Now, current rates simply don’t cover the costs associated with these significant investments.”  Rowe added that approximately 95-percent of the requested increase is the result of costs associated with federally required and critical infrastructure investments.


The most significant of the large projects are the upgrades of our jointly owned Big Stone and Neal power plants to meet federal regulations that limit pollutants linked to regional haze.  Our portion of the cost to upgrade the Neal Unit 4 plant in western Iowa was $23 million and the work was completed last year.  Our portion of the cost to upgrade the Big Stone plant is estimated to be in the range of $95-105 million and is due to be completed in 2015.  Other partner utilities are either in the process or have recently completed the process to increase rates as a result of these federally-mandated projects.

Read the entire release here.

Because of the Federal Government’s (and as noted earlier, the EPA’s) new regulations, consumers are being forced to foot the bill for these upgrades.  We can only hope that the next presidential administration is Republican, and they declare a cease fire in the war on energy production in this nation.

22 Replies to “Northwestern Energy forced to raise rates because of federal government. When will the war on energy end?”

  1. Anonymous

    To answer the question in the byline: when conservative Republicans have the house, senate, and white house. Until then, liberals will continue hating energy production; they want everything to run on fairy dust and elf pee.

    1. Anonymous

      i thought they were trying to put stress on our adaptive d-n-a triggers, so that we’d all sprout rocket nozzles out of our backs.

    2. Anonymous

      American liberals are so spoiled from living in the wealth of America, that they have adopted these idiotic ideas. Unfortunately for the USA, the liberal policies here also help the real liberals in China who gobble up our coal and burn it in dirty energy plants to out produce us. We are effectively shipping our wealth overseas and turning the USA into just another failed liberal state in a long line of failed Socialist countries.

      Someday, the brilliant liberals will get it right and their socialist ideas will create a perfect utopia.. Sadly, human arrogance clouds their vision and they continue to think they are right even as the Greece, California, Cuba’s, Illinois, Michigan’s, etc., etc., failures continue to stack up.

      The liberals were fully in charge of the USA for 2 years, they controlled Congress and the White House. The USA is the worst off it has been in our whole history.

      We need conservatives in our government at every level that are willing to cut government. I don’t mean the lip service kind who only mouth the words to get elected, but real rock-ribbed ones who will actually limit government. Until we start supporting such conservatives, the USA will continue to slide down the steep path of debt and exportation of American wealth.

  2. Ymous

    I can’t imagine what commercial rates will be. Gross leases were locked into. Sick and tired of this president and his hyper inflation policies.

  3. Anon.

    Coal mining. Coal power plants. Uranium mining. Nuclear power plants. We could be the energy capitol of the United States. Oil pipelines and refineries. South Dakota could be the New Jersey of the midwest. I cannot wait until the Kochs and Sheldon are in charge.

    1. Anonymous

      And I can’t wait for everyone to get a big ass surcharge slapped on top of the monthly bill so I can underwrite the German-owned wind energy industry that cannot make it on its own. Like the nearly 4% surcharge that is bleeding homeowners in the old country. Now THAT’s progressive. FOOL.

  4. Anonymous

    ‘We can only hope that the next presidential administration is Republican, and they declare a cease fire in the war on energy production in this nation.’

    Yes, yes, yes! A Republican who will do away with all these regulations and allow unlimited pollution. That would be just terrific. I’ll begin praying now for a Republican president in 2016. We need no regulations and lots of pollution!

  5. Charlie Hoffman

    The only way to make wind power acceptable in the marketplace is for both nuclear and carbon based energy to be nearly twice as expensive. For every kW of wind energy (all renewables really) put into a grid an extra kW of carbon based energy has to be built into the formula and paid for by the consumer for those times the wind does not blow. Coal provides 39% of America’s electricity while natural gas comes in at around 27%. Nuclear is at 19%, hydropower 7% and all other renewables only make up 6% added together with wind leading that category at 4%. Government regulations cannot change the physics of energy production only the cost of production by adding burdensome nearly impossible standards of purity for some while showering others with subsidies. Picking winners and losers based upon flawed long term atmospheric models speculating global disaster using one energy form over another guarantees the consumer not only loses tax based income but also expensive energy costs manipulated by unfounded doom and gloom projections.

  6. springer

    Now that Obama thinks and acts like a dictator-in-chief because it seems everyone is afraid to stand up to him, I predict things are going to get a lot worse with him in power for two more years. He claims to be looking out for the little guy, when the little guy is getting hit with all the expenses of his theme-of-the-month, pie-in-the-sky project – energy, climate change, Obamacare, immigration, EPA – while Obama maintains his at our expense lavish lifestyle and is unaffected by any of this.

    1. Anonymous

      Marie, are you making this prediction using your crystal ball and wearing a tin foil hat whilst sitting in your home near Chamberlain with multiple blankets wrapped around you because you’re too cheap set the thermostat above 70 degrees? Sounds about right. And, oh, PS – I heard Obama is going to personally visiting Brule County soon and declare that your property taxes are going up by 125 percent. Pass it on.

      1. springer

        Who is Marie? And no, I don’t live in the middle of the state, although driving thru Chamberlain when driving from one side to the other is enjoyable, especially crossing the River. And FYI I actually prefer temps below 70 degrees. Just saying….

  7. Old Guard

    I’m still mad at the government for forcing Homestake to stop running cyanide down Whitewood creek. I know it took a clear stream and killed everything in it and ran that poison into the Cheyenne River and then to the Missouri, but it cut into Homestake’s profits. And it may have just been a job killer, too!

    Then for the government to step in and spend taxpayer money to clean up the mess when nature could have taken care of it in a couple hundred years offended me even more.

    Don’t you wish our government could be more like the Chinese government and just keep their hands off environmental issues?

  8. Charlie Hoffman

    Old Guard your slicing oranges and apples trying to get the same outcome. How many public consumer complaints were ever filed against the EPA over their handling of the Homestake spill? Zero! How many have been filed against the EPA on their war against carbon based energy? Too many to count. The fact that you believe big powerful Government control of America is the only way to run a country does not make it so. Sadly science has been perverted in both the Climate Change Global warming debate and carbon emission pollution and you believe both. God help us all if your side ends up winning.

    1. Anonymous

      ‘Old Guard your …’ *you’re

      ‘How many public consumer complaints were ever filed against the EPA over their handling of the Homestake spill? Zero!’ Are you sure that is an accurate answer? How do you know that?

    2. Old Guard

      Charlie, what I really wanted to do was to extrapolate your hatred for government regulation and the EPA and the scientists with whom you disagree.

      I’m not sure if your history starts at some time that’s convenient for you, but if it starts before the evil Obama came to office, you may recall we heard the same kind of shatter-pated rhetoric when Nixon was passing the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air amendments of 1970. The polluters and their mouthpieces used the same sixth-grade playground tactics to demean their opposition. But back then, Congress was not owned by the corporations.

      In fact, Republican presidents led the way on environmental issues! Eisenhower signed the Federal Pollution Control Act of 1956, which led to many other improvements in the environment, including the Clean Water Act of 1969.

      Eisenhower was a Real Republican, but would be chastised by you neocons as a RINO today.

      I would think our people are in a far worse position if your side ends up winning. You might think urban China’s polluter model is desirable, but I will never be able to agree with that.

  9. Charlie Hoffman

    Old Guard you make some valid points in the blanketing of an entire country with sound scientifically proven environmentally saving measures being extremely difficult. I’m saying that as with the perverted global warming data used in making politically motivated Federal rules the same thing has happened in clean air amendments to that EPA here. Comparing China to the U.S. isn’t even remotely fair and none of us want to end up with that massive air pollution problem. As I stated earlier the Federal Gov is picking winners and losers in energy. The free market should be picking winners and losers otherwise the people lose.

  10. Old Guard

    To which perverted climate change data do you refer?

    An important point in my assertion above was that we heard the same exact rhetoric from the polluters leading up to the pollution control act of 1956 and again in 1969 and 1970. They literally wanted to continue to have the ability to make the skies rain sulfuric acid! Was their rhetoric about picking winners and losers right then?

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to in the Hills who thought it was perfectly fine for Homestake to poison Whitewood Creek because of the jobs at Homestake. Were they right? Did the EPA pick a winner or loser because they didn’t allow Homestake to poison the creek any more?

    And I do think China is a very good example of what can happen without regulation. I’m not sure how anyone could disagree with that. And if China isn’t a fair comparison, which you say, then how much pollution is acceptable?

    So I think most of us in here understand that almost every time a legislative body acts, one side comes out better than other sides. It’s the nature of politics – we pick winners and losers all the time.

    And when my choice of winners is either an industrial polluter or the people who breath the air and drink the water, I am going to root for the breathers and drinkers every single time. Don’t you?

  11. springer

    Climate change is being used for political purposes, the same as it was several years ago when supposedly we were facing the next ice age. That was evidently false, as now the climate change (note that it’s now not global warming, but climate change which essentially covers everything) argument is based on the premise that the earth is warming mainly due to man. False then, false now. Earth goes thru cycles of warming and cooling naturally. But that fact of course does nothing to benefit the politicians and their agendas.

    1. Old Guard

      You know Springer, I said the same thing just the other day. The polluters have their base riled up and yelling about the dictator and his hyper-inflation on energy prices. I’m not sure the $2 gas and America being a huge oil producer supports their gripes, but it’s fun to watch them manipulate their minions!

      Yes, I agree with you – the polluters are using all of this for political purposes!


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