BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana utility regulators have rejected a proposal by NorthWestern Energy to greatly increase rates when customers with rooftop solar systems need power from the grid.

The Billings Gazette reports the Public Service Commission said Monday NorthWestern hadn’t provided enough information to justify the charge.

NorthWestern argued net metering customers, who are credited for surplus power they export to the grid, buy such small amounts of electricity that other customers were unfairly shouldering the cost for the utility’s infrastructure.

NorthWestern proposed charging $7.69 per kilowatt hour of electricity used during the hour of highest energy use each month. NorthWestern charges about 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Critics argued customers with rooftop solar who occasionally needed power would end up paying more than if they didn’t net meter at all, making the charges punitive.


Information from: The Billings Gazette,

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