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PSC to Missoula: Screw You, Part II

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There was some dissension in the ranks but not enough.

The Montana Public Service Commission granted Liberty Utility Co. “special protections to secret information” in Liberty’s bid to buy Missoula’s Mountain Water Co.

Commissioners Travis Kavulla and Brad Johnson voted against the decision.  Two out of five votes aren’t enough, though.  Here’s more from the Missoulian:

In June, Missoula County District Judge Karen Townsend ruled the city could use its power of eminent domain to buy Mountain Water Co. from Carlyle. Before that, however, Carlyle said it had signed a proposal to sell the water company to Liberty … The PSC granted Liberty a special order of protection in July, and reconsidered the order last week.

The sale proceeding is still pending before the PSC and is expected to be heard in October. In July, the PSC voted 5-0 to deny the city’s request to dismiss that proceeding.

It’s hard to keep them all straight.  The global private equity firm Carlyle Group owns Mountain Water but wants to sell it to the Canadian company Algonquin Power and Utility whose U.S. subsidiary is Liberty Utility Co.

Mountain Water’s sale to Algonquin/Liberty is pending before the PSC, despite the fact that eminent domain proceedings are moving forward and despite an agreement by Carlyle that it would first negotiate a sale with Missoula.

Missoula’s Chief administrative officer summed it up this way: “Anyone who is interested in how a company that wants to own the water system for Missoula will operate that system is not allowed to see the information.”

It should be noted that Bob Lake, whose district includes Missoula, voted in favor of Liberty’s request. He’s up for re-election in 2016.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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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