BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A proposed fee for some Montana-Dakota Utilities customers who use their own wind or solar power has drawn opposition from renewable energy backers who say the company is trying to stifle small-scale electricity generation.
The Public Service Commission said the fee is unprecedented for customers who use "net-metering," which allows homeowners or businesses to sell excess power they generate back to the grid in exchange for credit on their bills.
It's built into a 21-percent rate increase that's proposed for about 26,000 eastern Montana customers. The Bismarck, North Dakota-based utility says it needs additional revenue to cover its increasing costs, including $400 million in pollution controls at coal plants in Montana and South Dakota.