Connect with us

Local News

Following PSC approval, Montanans must deal with increased energy costs



Billings, Montana – A day after the Montana Public Service Commission authorized a rate hike on Wednesday, some residents in Billings discussed what they do when they look at their energy bills and how they attempt to stay warm in the winter.

Rebels & Razors barbers pay a fixed booth rental price that covers utilities, so they won’t be affected by the sudden surge in electricity prices.

“Don’t really affect me and I haven’t seen any effects of that,” said Cedric Neal, a barber at Rebels & Razors. “And so utilities paid, I’m kind of out it when it comes to an increase unless my landlord tells me different.”

“The owners take care of our building’s electricity here,” said Dustin Kelm, also a barber at Rebels & Razors. “And I have it built into my rent at the place that I live, so I don’t see it per se.”

Commissioners claim that the Public Service Commission is legally obligated to approve anything that is simply illogical.

The Montana Consumer Council, NorthWestern Energy, and a number of sizable corporations submitted a stipulation for the rate increase proposal, which Commissioner Tony O’Donnell, R-Billings, reported the board had granted.

In comparison to August 2022, NorthWestern Energy expects its electric revenue to rise by slightly less than 15% and its natural gas income to rise by about 12%.

That would result in a nearly 8% rise in the average home’s electricity bill.

The barbers claim they would keep their houses colder if they were directly impacted.

“I would definitely drop to 68 in the wintertime,” said Kelm. ” I would be that penny-pinching guy.”

Others have already discovered ways to reduce their heating costs and lower the thermostats.

“A little cooler,” Billings resident Eric Gulo said about the temperature in his home. “Heavier clothes so I wear heavier sweatpants, heavier sweatshirts. I layer up underneath the sweatshirts and sweatpants. And wear heavier socks of course.”

Furthermore, some thermostats allow the house to remain warm even at 54 degrees.

“We have woodstoves,” said Shauntesia Birdinground, who lives in Pryor. “Woodstoves actually help out a lot, too. Just so that we’re not paying as much money for our bills as we would normally.”

They will therefore have to put up with paying more for electricity in addition to the other rising costs.

“Most of the residents here are already getting a little crunch from everything else being so high with food, groceries and things like that,” Neal said. “Every penny is going to count. So any increase anywhere could actually hurt everyone’s bottom line.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *