The Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee (ETIC) reviewed Montana’s actions in the Washington Utilities Commission Colstrip rate case and furthered its studies of utility decoupling and natural gas consumer choice in the state during its September 29 meeting in Helena.
During the meeting ETIC members were briefed by the Montana Attorney General’s office and other stakeholders on the progress of the Washington Utilities Commission Colstrip rate case. Members also learned more about the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s worker retraining grant program.
Representatives from Verizon Wireless and Nemont Communications joined the committee to discuss rural cell phone coverage in the state. The committee also received an update from the Public Service Commission, including an update on qualifying facilities tariffs and contracts.
The committee began a series of discussions on Montana energy investment. Sean Becker of the Montana Department of Commerce joined the committee to discuss that departments efforts to broaden energy investment in the state. Larry Johnson of the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance detailed the growth of the photonics industry in Montana.
After finalizing the ETIC interim work plan, ETIC members furthered their study of natural gas consumer choice by drafting a questionnaire for Montana Dakota Utilities to gain further insight into the mechanics of such policy proposals within their transmission system. ETIC continued to examine utility decoupling with a staff report on decoupling methods in western states.
For more information visit the following links:
September 29 Meeting Materials (includes agenda and background reports)
Information on how to sign up for interim meeting notices
Senate members of ETIC are Mary McNally (D-Billings), Tom Richmond (R-Billings), Scott Sales (R-Bozeman), and Cynthia Wolken (D-Missoula).\
House members include Laurie Bishop (D-Livingston), Zac Perry (D-Hungry Horse), Derek Skees (R-Kalispell) and Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings).
For more information on the committee’s activities and upcoming meetings, please visit the committee’s website or contact Sonja Nowakowski or Trevor Graff, committee staff. A full agenda and meeting materials will be posted approximately two weeks in advance of each meeting.