BUTTE, Mont. — Northwestern Energy recently filed a request with the Montana Public Service Commission to increase natural gas supply rates beginning July 1, 2003, due to sharply higher market prices and to recover approximately $13 million in undercollected revenues for the current tracker period ending June 30, 2003, says the company.

In Montana, NorthWestern Energy customers who purchase their natural gas supply from the company will see their overall natural gas bills increase approximately 45 percent for the month of July. The tracker allows gas supply rates to increase or decrease based on changes to market prices. The rates paid by customers to deliver natural gas to their homes and businesses are unchanged.

The company said that it is switching to a monthly tracker to better match natural gas rates with gas costs. Monthly tracking is common in the industry and in Montana as both Montana-Dakota and Energy West file monthly adjustments.

“We are not pleased about having to ask for such a large rate adjustment,” said Pat Corcoran, vice president of regulatory affairs. “It is due to the significant increase in natural gas market prices, and it is not unique to Montana or NorthWestern Energy. High natural gas prices are quickly becoming a national concern.”

Publication date: 06/23/2003