Attention Northwestern Energy: You are a “monopoly”

I recently dumped my satellite dish (note to self: never believe Dish Network ads again!) in favor of local cable.   I don’t watch a lot of network television, however, I have noticed the return of local news and of course, local commercials.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me on why Northwestern Energy, Montana’s energy monopoly, needs to advertise to me on how great of a deal Northwestern Energy is for me and my family.  Who is your competition?  What realistic choices do I have?

A note to Northwestern Energy: you have a monopoly.  You don’t have competition.  Perhaps some poll told you that Montana consumers were unhappy about our energy situation but honestly, your commercials don’t help.  How about cutting my rates with your PR budget?  That would make me happier.

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  • I have been trying to live on a fixed income for over 14 years now and I receive $784. per month from disability. I was informed by Northwestern Energy that by services would be discontinued on the 31st of March if I did not pay $306.00. I find it impossible to make ends meet on the income I receive and I am not physically able to supplement my income due to my heart condition and recent cancer surgery. I was instructed to apply for LIEAP and Energy Share, something I’ve done in the past but I am wondering why such services are not permanently provided to me, or at least on a 6 month basis. Why am I forced to re-apply every month when my income doesn’t change and neither does the amount of my monthly bills. Due to my physical condition I am forced to drive 150 miles round trip to see specialists several times a month. With the increase in gas prices, I can barely afford to make it to my appointments. Maybe you can suggest a more permanent solution. I already live in low income apartments and have sold everything of value that I own and took out a loan on my vehicle. Thank you for your time and consideration. Robert M. Harper

  • Dear Robert M. Harper,

    It sounds as if the fault lies with the heating assistance programs you have worked with, not with Northwestern E. You may want to contact your closest branch of the HRDC–Human Resources Development Council. They may be able to help you with LIEAP and Energy Share. Otherwise, my suggestion is (since your income seems static) to visit the local Kinko’s when in town and make multiple copies of your application(s) for submission, and mark the dates on a calendar as to when they are due. Just make sure to leave the signature and date areas blank, as an original signature and current date are usually required.

    Occasionally local area churches assist people with their utility bills, as well. Here in Bozeman there is an organization–Love in the Name of Christ, Inc.–that is a non-profit conglomeration of churches. But, you may call individual parishes in your area for advice.

    Best of luck!


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