- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A district court judge has upheld an order from the Montana Public Service Commission denying a proposed increase in NorthWestern Energy electricity rates.

Montana District Court Judge Brad Newman on Monday affirmed the commission’s 2012 rejection of the proposed rate increase. NorthWestern had requested the hike to pay for unforeseen outage costs and revenue lost due to its efficiency programs.

Newman said in his decision the commission disallowed the rate increases based on substantive evidence and by doing so ensured reasonable and just rates.

The commission says customers across the state would have collectively paid about $4.2 million more for electricity in the past three years had the increase gone into effect.

NorthWestern Energy spokesman Butch Larcombe says the company is weighing whether to appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.

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