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PSC to Missoula: Screw You

If you don’t live in Missoula, or you have a well, your city or town owns your water supply (which basically means you’re a stakeholder in that supply). So you’re probably not too worked up over the Montana Public Service Commission’s ruling in favor of the Carlyle Group.

This global asset management firm, a.k.a. a private investment bank, owns Missoula’s water.  Most Missoulians would like to own their water and we’ve been trying to buy the privately held company, Mountain Water, from the Carlyle Group for years.  It doesn’t want to sell, at least without making an obscene profit.

Finally, a district court judge ruled that Missoula can use its power of eminent domain to buy Mountain Water at a fair market price.  But before that ruling, Carlyle decided to sell the company to the giant Canadian corporation, Algonquin Power and Utlilities.

Missoula would like to stop the sale while it’s negotiating with Carlyle.  The PSC disagrees and is moving forward with the sale to Algonquin.

Somehow I’m not surprised that the five members of the PSC, all Republicans, would rule against the liberal hotbed known as Missoula.  Occasionally Commissioner Travis Kuvalla gets it right but the other four seldom do.  (Did y’all see Commissioner Roger Koopman’s take on net neutrality?)

Then there’s this from Commissioner Bob Lake, whose district includes Missoula, and who said his job “isn’t to choose the company’s next owner, but to protect consumers.”

Yeah, right.

In the future, those who control clean water are going to make those who control today’s petroleum reserves look like pikers.  And I’m guessing that neither Carlyle nor Algonquin have Missoulians’ best interests at heart.




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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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  • The PSC is moving to interpose itself, and become the financial Experts, the Evaluator, the Arbiter of multiple long forward effects of the Algonquin Offer ! ! !

    Perhaps an example of bureaurocracy over reach,
    enabled also supported by State and Corporate Legal Opinions.

  • IMHO, your fight is with the city. Why haven’t they gone forth with condemnation and proceeded to pay just compensation for the government taking? As Thorvald Nelson is quoted as saying, “Constructive ownership is a legal figment of the city’s imagination. It is nothing.” Now, after the sale, what would stop the city from exercising it’s governmental condemnation authority, pay a just price, and take the water company?

  • Is kafoola still giving the Nazi salute like he was famous for in high school? Strange, very strange dude, if ya know what I mean, don’t ask, and I won’t tell! But I will say this, we CAN do better than these buffoons! Elections DO matter, as we are finding out.

    • What an asshole thing to say. Weren’t you in Chester at that time dealing with your own self-inflecting troubles leading to your firing?

      • Nope. Here in good ol’ GF, listening to tales first hand from kids who went to school with Kafoola. Want proof? ASK him! I will gladly provide first hand testimony of Kafoola’s weirdness shall we say. And really, craigy, do you REALLY think that I would post anything but the TRVTH? That’s your schtick, dude, not mine. I calls’em as I see’s’em! And that is the TRVTH! Why don’t you contact Kafoola and ask him about the veracity of my claims? See what he says. And don’t get me wrong. I think that Travis is extremely bright, just weird! Like me! But I’m not gay. Happy maybe, but not gay! And really, when you think about it, is there really anything wrong with being gay? Not in MY book!

          • Um, craigy, actually, I know travis pretty well! I find him quite interesting, intelligent, and full of potential. But it’s a damn SHAME that he cast his lot and talents with inbreds and lowlifes who HATE him for what he is! But then again, the Pubbie party is FULL of guys just like travis. J. Edgar Hoover comes to mind. Or maybe Tail gunner joe’s buddy, Cohen. It is nothing new in your party. YOUR party is the only party that will not fully accept guys like travis! I DO accept him just the way he is! And I would welcome him in the Dem Party any day!
            But really, to support fred burrows??? Geez, that is just flatassed STOOPID! Burrows is an auctioneer who makes even sen. cornhole BURNS look intelligent!

            And although travis, unlike Lincoln, was NOT born in a log cabin, he’s as log cabiny as ANY of’em!

            His own words. He sure seems to like that word “ejaculate”! Why? I report, you decide!

            “Bacaus is a babbling monstrosity, grossly unable to wrangle his train of thought, ejaculating numbers without context”

            Really? Ejeculate? Is THAT what comes to a normal mind?????

        • “What an asshole thing to say. Weren’t you in Chester at that time dealing with your own self-inflecting troubles leading to your firing?”

          And, no, craigy, I was on a mission to seek a vision from Ceement Jeezus up on the mountain by YOUR home! sniff. I STILL get trembles with I think of my time up on your mountain with Ceement Jeezus! I was just SO moved by all that plaster of paris! Jeezus would be SO proud of his likeness being displayed in such a tacky, inbred way!

  • You may have a point on quite a few things Pete, but you’re drinking the koolaid from the city’s attorneys on this one. If the city wins condemnation and fair market value is figured out, it doesn’t matter who owns the company — Carlyle or Liberty. This PSC thing is nothing but the city’s attorneys running up billable hours. The PSC process has zero to do with the ultimate outcome of condemnation. It doesn’t matter whether they’re for or against the city, liberal or conservative. It’s irrelevant. And really, if people truly think Carlyle is so bad for this town, selling to Liberty even just for a little bit of time would at least put the company in the hands of a company that lives and dies by managing utilities. That sounds better than Carlyle to me.

    • I appreciate the comment, John, but I obviously have a different take. First, you say: “This PSC thing is nothing but the city’s attorneys running up billable hours.” One could also say that the Carlyle Group, with its deep pockets, is running up billable hours in an attempt to keep Mountain Water out of the city’s hands. And why add another player (Liberty/Algonquin) into the mix? It’s already convoluted enough. All most of us really want, IMHO, is to own our water supply – not Carlyle or Liberty/Algonquin.

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