Montana State Legislature
Public Service Commisson
The mission of the Public Service Commission is to fairly balance the long-term interests of Montana utility and transportation companies and their customers.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates the operations of public utility and transportation industries that operate in the state. Five commissioners, elected from districts throughout Montana, form the Montana Public Service Commission that oversees the Public Service Regulation Program. Each commissioner serves a four-year term.
The PSC provides services primarily through the employment of state employees, who perform rate and economic analysis relative to the entities regulated by the commission, and other technical and administrative duties.
Since the Public Service Commission is a single program agency, no organizational chart is included.
This report includes a series of charts that compare expenditure growth to the growth in the economy and growth in inflation adjusted for population. Montana statute, 17-8-106, MCA, recommends using growth in personal income for comparison purposes. Personal income is a measure for growth in the economy. Comparing growth allows financial planners to consider past and future demands in services or changes in revenues.
The following list discusses in more detail the inflection points on the charts:
- In FY 2003, the legislature approved an increase of $1.0 million in state special revenue over the FY 2000 base budget which included $683,454 of universal access funds in FY 2002. The 1999 legislature approved language in HB 2 for the 2001 biennium that appropriated $650,000 for the Montana Universal Access Program authority for the 2003 biennium, but only $12,620 was expended in FY 2000.
- FY 2004 and FY 2005 included a $500,000 increase in state special revenue to accommodate passage of SB 247. SB 247 established a default electricity supply procurement process and required the Public Service Commission to adopt rules to establish process criteria.
- General fund revenue shortfalls occurred in FY 2017, and the legislature reduced FY 2018 appropriations during the 2017 regular session and during the November 2017 Special Session. Since the revenue shortfall was short-term, legislators increased appropriations in FY 2020-FY 2021.
The Public Service Commission’s budget does not include general fund.
State special revenue
The majority of growth in expenditures within the Public Service Commission has been supported by state special revenue. An increase in FY 2003 was due to the Montana Universal Access Program authority for the 2003 biennium. FY 2004 and FY 2005 included a $500,000 increase in state special revenue to accommodate the passage of SB 247. The decrease in state special revenue in FY 2018 was due to reductions made in the November 2017 Special Session.
The 2019 Legislature passed the following:
HB 3 - This bill appropriates $248,000 in state special revenue in fiscal year 2019. During the November 2017 Special Session operating expenses were reduced by $248,000. This reduction resulted in a double impact as a transfer was also approved, which was not intended to impact the overall appropriation. In most agency budgets, in order to recognize other savings due to a transfer, appropriations are also reduced. However, due to the nature of the state special revenue fund in PSC this reduction further impacted the agency budget. The appropriation in HB 3 adjusted this.
HB 597- This bill generally revises laws related to utility regulation. It allows for the Montana Consumer Counsel to request, select and retain an independent monitor for competitive solicitations. It allows for a hearings examiner for proceedings under Title 69 and establishes a process for use of a hearings examiner. While there is no appropriation in HB 597, aggregate appropriation authority was provided in HB 715, some of which may be used for this purpose.
HB 715 - This bill appropriates $290,000 in state special revenue in fiscal year 2020 and $270,000 in state special revenue in fiscal year 2021 based upon the passage and approval of HB 597.
Click the double-sided arrow in the lower right corner of the image below to enlarge the graphic. Then, click the box next to the agency you want to see. To minimize, click Esc.
HB 99 Revise laws related to utility pre-approval
HB 182, Revising laws related to utility deadband mechanisms
HB 359, Revise net metering laws
HB 370, Prohibiting electricity demand charges
HB 376, Revise laws to bring electric and telephone co-ops in compliance with federal law
HB 387, Revise small energy generation facility requirements and transition costs
HB 389, Require certain power production facilities to file a bond
SB 35 Repeal expired property tax exemption for electrical generation facilities
SB 59, Revise laws related to integrated least-cost resource planning
SB 85, Generally revise taxation of renewable energy
SB 86, Generally revise obligations and conditions for property impacted by coal
SB 87, Revise coal-fired power/water-right owner legal responsibilities
SB 88, Establish requirements for coal-fired power plant maintenance
SB 134, Board of Investment loans for coal-fired generation decommissioning
SB 160, Establish public service commission appointments
SB 179, Revise billing practices for telecommunications
SB 183, Revise statute of limitation laws regarding overbilling of telecom services
SB 201, Revise avoided cost rate making
SB 213, Revising the PSC appeals process in contested cases
SB 237, Revise community renewable energy project requirements
Jan. 7 Budget
Nov. 15 Budget
PSC Letter Jan. 12, 2021 - Electronic Database and Docket Information
PSC Letter Jan. 12, 2021 - Dockets
PSC Chairman letter Jan. 13, 2021 (re: legislation regarding redundancies)
PSC Chairman letter Jan. 13, 2021 (re: implementation of hearing examiner)
Agency profile information provided by the Legislative Fiscal Division.