PSC protects Montana consumers from utility monopolies

By Former and current members of the PSC
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guest Commentary

(Although SB 331 was voted down on Tuesday, several lawmakers have said they will attempt to get a version of the bill passed in the last 10 days of the legislature.)

An Open Letter to Montana State Legislators and Governor Bullock:

As former and current Montana Public Service Commissioners, we represented Montanans across this great state in balancing the needs of utilities with the needs of consumers. We took our oath of office seriously and worked tirelessly to faithfully perform the job to which our constituents entrusted us. We often disagreed as Commissioners, and still rarely agree on many issues. Yet we are writing this letter because we share grave concerns about Senate Bill 331.

While we may differ in our views of various energy resources, we are united in the belief that Montanans elect the Public Service Commission to protect them from the natural tendencies of monopoly utilities. We oppose SB 331 because it eliminates the authority of the Montana Public Service Commission to do its legal duty to, “supervise and regulate the operations of public utilities, common carriers, railroads, and other regulated industries….” SB 331 eliminates that basic function of the Public Service Commission and puts the utility in charge of determining utility rates. Upon codification of SB 331, utility customers would no longer receive the same level of commission protection from the monopoly utility.

SB 331 is a dangerous bill that sets a perilous precedent. We are united in urging members of the Montana State Legislature and Governor Bullock to reject this attempt to take over the most important function of the Montana Public Service Commission – protecting Montanans.

Tom Schneider, Democrat

PSC Commissioner, District 2 and District 3

1977 - 1984, 2003 - 2006

Greg Jergeson, Democrat

PSC Commissioner, District 1

2003 - 2010

Brad Molnar, Republican

PSC Commissioner, District 2 2005 - 2012

Bob Raney, Democrat PSC Commissioner, District 3 2005 - 2008

Ken Toole, Democrat PSC Commissioner, District 5 2007 - 2010

Gail Gutsche, Democrat PSC Commissioner, District 4 2009 - 2012

John Vincent, Democrat PSC Commissioner, District 3 2009 - 2012

Travis Kavulla, Republican PSC Commissioner, District 1 2011 - 2018

Roger Koopman, Republican PSC Commissioner, District 3 2013 – 2020

Tony O’Donnell, Republican PSC Commissioner, District 2 2017-2020


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