GREAT FALLS – A public hearing on a natural gas rate increase proposed by Energy West Montana and Cut Bank Gas Company was heard by the Montana Public Service Commission on Wednesday.
The joint application is looking for an approval to change and establish natural gas delivery services rates for both companies in Great Falls.
Both companies said the benefits would be a purchase of a pipeline, a new software planning system, general inflation, and reduced consumer demand.
The total dollar amount of the revenue increases proposed are $1,361,817 for Energy West Montana and $178,328 for Cut Bank Gas Company.
Those total amounts translate into an average increase of 7.03 percent for the Great Falls and West Yellowstone service areas and about 5.42 percent for the customers of Cut Bank Gas Company.
But the Montana Consumer Counsel is not only asking for a much smaller increase but is also arguing that it would allow the utilities to adjust rates annually.
Not only that, but that the accounts are spending more money to replace older pipes than it takes to pay the original investment.
The public is invited to sit in on the hearing and make comments when the time is given by commissioners.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News