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Old 01-14-2009, 09:19 AM
 
Location: South Central Montana
4 posts, read 16,173 times
Reputation: 14

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Hey All -

Just wondered if anyone else was located in our area (south central Montana) and was also a 'victim' of the ridiculous rate increases, wholesale power surcharges, 20.5% kwh increase, etc. that Beartooth Electric has just imposed?

Our electric bill almost doubled....went from $165 to $323 due to these insane charges. They had a piece on one of the Billings news stations last night and featured a Beartooth Electric customer who got a $903 electric bill this month!!!

We have always thought our bill was high in the first place considering we don't have any 'major draw' electric appliances/devices in our house (hot water is propane, primary heat is wood). Our house is also not huge, at about 1800 sq ft....But these new charges are insane!

If anyone else is out there maybe a petition to the PUC, legislators, state senators are in order? Not sure how the PUC could have ever condoned this in the first place?
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:08 AM
 
Location: NW MT
1,436 posts, read 2,926,438 times
Reputation: 548
Holy Crap !!! I though I had it bad with a $95 () electric bill for the last month. Almost sounds like a mistake of sort... I thought we in the Flathead had the highest electric in the State. I guess your now the big winner.

I'd be raising all kinds of hell about that one and I'm sure your not the only one if that is the case.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:51 PM
 
Location: MT
155 posts, read 640,613 times
Reputation: 139
It doubled on our place as well. Went from 300 some to 600 something. My family has a farm/ranch, and between that and gas bill it was about $1000 this month. Ridicoulous. What can you do? It is just like the gas going to 4.00 or 5.00 .... this is what happens when more and more regs are placed out there where does the dollar get passed to. Next is carbon credits, but don't worry we will all be saved by the gov't.

Last edited by mtboy; 01-14-2009 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:32 PM
 
Location: West Yellowstone, MT
239 posts, read 610,692 times
Reputation: 127
Is that not a coop owned by each user? If so, each of those members should have know about these increases. If there is a special assessment for a new facility in Highwood the members of the coop have to pay for it somehow.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: MT
155 posts, read 640,613 times
Reputation: 139
Yes, as far as I know there was a letter sent around stating their was going to be an increase in rates between billing periods. Did not specify anything specific. Then they sent the bill, with the specifics. Did not ease into it at all. The reason why the increased bill is they can not get funding for construction. So current construction costs are coming directly from the consumers. Also, they are constantly being fought and are in court battles with the enviromental crazies over emmisions. So lawyer fees are what some of the increases are going towards, the enviro's will cost this small county a lot of money if this goes on. The rates which they are being charged are substantially more than that of North Western Energy which has always been much higher in the past.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Bellville, TX
71 posts, read 267,559 times
Reputation: 39
We are from Texas and ours also doubled ($150-$300+) I think it's just the electric companys in general.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Long Beach Peninsula, WA
205 posts, read 657,518 times
Reputation: 267
What geographic area does Beartooth Electric cover...town(s) or county?
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:16 AM
 
Location: South Central Montana
4 posts, read 16,173 times
Reputation: 14
The only areas I know for certain that Beartooth Electric covers are Carbon County and Stillwater County.

Yes, it is a co-op and no they did not disclose this ridiculous plan prior to this latest bill. As MtBoy said, they indicated a rate increase was coming but no further details were provided as far as I or anyone else I have asked was aware (certainly not a 100% increase on top of our already outrageously high electric bills).

The fact that it is a co-op doesn't really mean anything. We're "members" but have no say or vote in what the board decides to do. Also, being a co-op they're not regulated by the Montana PSC so we're all sort of screwed I guess.

The "membership" of Beartooth Electric is NOT large. To impose such costs on a few thousand people is unconscionable (especially at this particular time with regard to the economy and season). Nobody that I know of on Beartooth Electric wants to "personally" pay for a $9 million clean coal facility in Highwood (which is hundreds of miles away!). With all the environmental issues and lawsuits aimed at Highwood it will likely never actually be up and running anyway....instead, we'll all just go broke in the meantime trying to keep the juice flowing to our homes and businesses.

I spoke to a young guy at our local "small town" grocery store today (minimum wage type job) who said his bill had gone from $132 last month to $339 this month. I guess he'll have to work an extra 25-30 hours each month just to pay for the "increase". How about the 200+ miners that got laid off at the Stillwater Mine in November? I'm sure this is just what they needed on top of losing their jobs.

Don't mean to go on. Just very frustrating and disheartening that something like this could be forced down the throats of regular "working" people who already struggle to make ends meet! And they wonder why all the kids are leaving the state after they graduate. Bummer!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:01 AM
 
Location: West Yellowstone, MT
239 posts, read 610,692 times
Reputation: 127
I suggest that very concerned customers of this coop and Montana citizens in general should write and call their local, state, and US lawmakers along with the governor and ask for help. Every day you hear of pork barrel spending for projects similar to this. It may be a tough sell in this political climate as Obama has suggested putting coal plants "out of business". Our Congressman should be able to try something in Washington. You have every right to be mad, but don't take it sitting down.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,569,281 times
Reputation: 15493
Sounds like it'd almost be cheaper to buy a diesel generator and run it! I'm sorry to hear y'all are getting gouged, thankfully Flathead Electric hasn't done that yet (knock wood)!
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