DOJ: News Release

McGrath Gets Assurances from Power Company

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said Friday the Montana Power Company has reassured his office that the sale to NorthWestern Corporation of transmission and distribution systems held by Montana Power Company, LLC does not diminish the limited-liability corporation’s ability to meet potential environmental or safety obligations in connection with its ownership of Milltown Dam and Reservoir.

McGrath also said MPC confirmed the sale of MPC,LLC to NorthWestern Corporation will result in a $55 million cash reserve for Montana Power Company, LLC. The reserve could be used to meet potential environmental or safety liabilities connected to Milltown Dam and Reservoir.

The reassurances were in a Friday letter to McGrath from MPC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Haffey. The letter comes 10 days after McGrath petitioned the Public Service Commission to allow access to and review of documents related to the sale of Montana Power.

In exchange for MPC’s commitments:

  • The Department of Justice will withdraw a petition seeking to intervene in proceedings before the Montana Public Service Commission related to the sale of Montana Power Company’s electricity transmission and distribution assets.
  • MPC agrees to withdraw its objections related to another Department of Justice petition to intervene in the “Tier II” proceeding related to MPC’s attempt to recover transition costs linked to past operations.

“We have received the reassurances we requested,” McGrath said. “Given that, we see no point in proceeding with our intervention in the sale docket. We will continue with our intervention in the Tier II process.”

McGrath said the Department of Justice will also continue to monitor future PSC proceedings regulating the sale to NorthWestern.

“We want to ensure that the State of Montana will not be forced to assume financial responsibility for future remediation efforts at Milltown Dam,” McGrath said.

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