“True up” in NorthWestern natural gas rates approved

Montana natural gas customers of NorthWestern Energy should see lower rates starting in July as result of a $5.1 million “true up.”

Natural gas rates starting in July would be about $10.76 a month less for an average residential customer in order to correct the difference in the utility’s actual gas prices and what customers have been charged over the past 12 months. NorthWestern reports having about 203,000 natural gas customers in Montana. 

Gas rates are approved a month ahead of time and don’t always reflect the actual expense, which was the case six of the past 12 months when what customers paid exceeded actual expenses by $6.5 million.

The Montana Public Service Commission approved the adjustment Tuesday.

Spread over a year, the difference in rates should be about $129.12 for average residential customers. The true-up also includes $1.3 million in NorthWestern’s favor to recover other costs.

Natural gas prices remain volatile and rates will continue be adjusted monthly to accommodate sharp inflationary changes in cost, but at a lower starting point because of the true up.

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