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Renewable energy lawsuit continues in Cascade County

Posted: 5:47 PM, Feb 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-01 19:47:45-05

A lawsuit that was filed against the Montana Public Service Commission and NorthWestern Energy had its first hearing since 2017.

Martin Wilde filed the lawsuit against the two companies because he felt their actions would stop the development of renewable energy in Montana.

The case has been pending in Cascade County Court since Wilde died in November of 2017.

Wilde passed away in a farming accident, but his estate decided to continue with the suit.

The complaint states the commission set rates for independent wind and solar developers at about one-third the rates set for NorthWestern Energy’s assets.

They have also reduced the contract duration for wind and solar.

During the hearing, NorthWestern Energy asked to be dismissed from the case, but Judge John Kutzman did not make any rulings from the bench.

(October 23, 2017) The Montana Public Service Commission and NorthWestern Energy are being sued in Cascade County District Court.

During a hearing last week, Martin Wilde’s lawyers asked for Judge John Kutzman to file a pre-injunction.

In the complaint, Wilde argues that the actions of the defendants will stop the development of renewable energy in Montana.

The complaint states that the commission set rates for independent wind and solar developers at about one-third the rates set for NorthWestern’s assets.

They have also reduced the contract duration for wind and solar.

The prosecution also has audio from a Public Service Commission meeting where one of the commissioners says he believes the price is going to kill wind and solar.

The Montana Public Service Commission lawyers say if the higher rates that Wilde is asking for are approved, the cost will be passed down to the consumers.

Lawyers with NorthWestern Energy say that Wilde has not followed the administrative policy and therefore has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies in the matter.

Kutzman has not made a decision about the pre-injunction at this time.

We will update you as we get more information.