GREAT FALLS — At the Civic Center in downtown Great Falls, the Public Service Committee held an open hearing on Monday, August 14, 2023, for anybody to voice their concerns about Northwestern energy’s new integration resource plan.
“There is a chokehold on the energy in our state because of Northwestern Energy,” shared one frustrated Great Falls resident.
Statements like these were shared throughout the almost 90 minute meeting. This is the first of five hearings like this going on around Montana in the coming days, as people voice their concern for their rising energy bills and the lack of investment in environmentally friendly energy.
“You do wind and solar [power],” another citizen said, “I’ll tell you exactly what the cost of that electricity will be tomorrow, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now.”
With almost 50 people in attendance, the general consensus was that the meeting was a success.
“I think the fact that this room was full tonight, and the fact that we were all made aware of this meeting kind of last minute… shows that meetings like this are very important to people regardless of where they stand on this issue,” Katie Harrison, a member of the Montana Environmental Information Center, said, “People want their voices and opinions to be heard, especially if this is something that is going to impact us all for the next 20 years.”
PSC commissioner Randy Pinocci was also happy with how the hearing went, promoting community involvement in politics..
“This government is your government: you get the government you deserve,” Pinocci said, “I’m asking all of you to be involved with who you elect and start showing up to meetings.”
Hearings like this are a great way for the people of Montana to be able to share their opinions with their legislators. The information for the upcoming meetings is below:
- Tuesday, Aug. 15, 12 p.m., at the PSC offices, 1701 Prospect Ave. in Helena
- Wednesday, Aug. 16, 6 p.m., at the Board of Oil & Gas Conservation headquarters, 2535 St. Johns Ave. in Billings
- Thursday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m., at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, 17 W. Quartz St.
- Tuesday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m., at the Missoula College Learning Center, 1205 E. Broadway St
You can also submit written public comment to the PSC through August 28, by mail to 1701 Prospect Ave., P.O. Box 202601, Helena, MT 59620-2601, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.