HELENA – NorthWestern Energy customers are getting a little holiday bonus on their utility bill this year.
The Montana Public Service Commission voted to accept an agreement on Tuesday between NorthWestern, the Montana Consumer Counsel and other groups to direct $19.5 million in savings from last year’s federal tax cut bill to customers.
In addition, NorthWestern is sending about $1 million to low-income energy assistance for a total package of $20.5 million.
As a result, eligible electric customers will likely see a credit of around $24 on their next bill. For eligible gas consumers, the credit will be worth $3.50.
The settlement is an increase for customers from NorthWestern’s original proposal of $14 million, which directed proceeds on rate reductions and trimming hazard trees near power lines.
However, several consumer groups intervened, proposing larger savings reserved solely for customers.
The savings were a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the massive plan touted by President Trump and the Republican Congress to give tax breaks to businesses and individual taxpayers.
The Montana Public Service Commission ruled last December that all benefits for utility companies must be passed to consumers.