Published July 1, 2006 | July 2006 issue
PPL Montana doesn't wield monopoly power over local energy markets after all. Ending a protracted dispute between the power generator and the Consumer Counsel, a state office that represents Montana ratepayers, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in May that PPL does not have "market power" in the state and therefore should not be required to sell at cost-based, regulated prices.
PPL, which supplies NorthWestern Energy with at least 55 percent of the electricity it resells to Montana customers, said that the decision would benefit consumers in the long run by spurring competition among power producers. Disappointed state officials warned ratepayers to expect bigger electricity bills in the future.