Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BBI no go

Just got a phone call from our very own Public Service commissioner, Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, who says that the PSC voted today to deny a rehearing to Babcock and Brown Infrastructure on its $2.2 billion proposal to buy NorthWestern Energy. The vote was 5-0.

BBI can still appeal the decision or file for a new case, Molnar said.

He said that most commissioners were concerned that the request for rehearing contained deficiencies. His own concerns had to do with a couple of issues:

* BBI proposed to build a new transmission line that eventually would have made Colstrip electricity available for sale in California, driving up Montana rates.

* Fraudulent claims by NorthWestern Energy when it acquired Montana Power Co.'s assets cost Montana ratepayers $300 million, he said, and the proposal includes only $20 million in rate relief. "That's not a dime on the dollar," he said.

BBI also would take NWE profits out of Montana while leaving local ratepayers with debt, Molnar said. "It's like living on a credit card," he said.

The PSC plans a final vote on denying the purchase next week. The Lee State Bureau story is here.


mike said...

As a Montanan for over 50 years, I have learned that we Montanans become skeptical whenever someone offers a second "one-time good deal." Whether it's a washing machine, car, or energy company, we expect people to be honest and up-front from the get-go. BBI should have made their best pitch the first time. That's one reason we elect Public Service Commissioners; we expect them to make good decisions regarding energy info that we don't understand. Further, BBI did itself no favor with the full page ads promoting its second offer. And finally, their executives, along with the Northwestern Energy people, should quit whining about not having the opportunity to pitch their second "one-time good deal." They should have done that the first time.

Anonymous said...

So the mess continues.

Lest we forget -

Energy in Montana was de-regulated May 25, 1999 on Commission Docket D99.4.82 and it was approved by these commissioners;

Dave Fisher (D-Butte)

Nancy Mccaffree (D-Forsyth)

Bob Anderson (D-Helena)

Bob Rowe (D-Missoula)

Gary Feland (R-Shelby)