Notice to Members of Beartooth Electric Cooperative

Posted: January 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm

The BEC board of trustees hereby notifies co-op members that to meet the
financial impact of NorthWestern Energy Corporation’s (NWE) 53.8% transmission rate increase, a proposal to implement a cost pass-through revenue increase of 2.8% ($250,000) by raising BEC’s electric rate $0.003616/kwh on all rate classes (residential, small commercial, large commercial, industrial and irrigation), effective March 1, 2020, is under consideration. (The monthly impact to the average residential member using 800 kWh per month is $2.89.)

On May 1, 2019, NWE filed a revision to its Montana Open Access Transmission Tariff with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to increase transmission rates 53.8% to all Montana transmission customers. FERC allowed NWE to implement its proposed rate increase July 1, 2019, while it considers objections from NWE’s transmission customers, including BEC. FERC is expected to make a final decision on NWE’s increase request sometime in 2020 or later.

This substantial transmission rate increase hit BEC’s bottom line with $250,000 in
additional annual expenses. Although BEC has absorbed this increased cost since July, our financial forecast shows the need for increased revenue to make up for the increased costs. BEC Bylaws, Article X-Financial Transactions, Section 5: Change in Rates, require notice to be given to Members at least 30 days before a vote by the Board to approve any change in Beartooth Electric rates.

The BEC board of trustees hereby notifies co-op members that the board will vote on this proposal at its February 25 monthly meeting. During the notification period, members may comment on this proposal via USPS at BEC Member Services, P.O. Box 1110, Red Lodge, MT 59068; email at; or at the monthly regular board meetings January 28, and February 25, 2020.

For additional information, call Kevin Owens, general manager at (406) 446-2310, or contact any member of the Beartooth board of trustees. Please see the February 2020 Rural Montana, BEC newsletter pages 3-6, for a detailed article on this Member Notice. Also, this notice and documents related to NWE’s request to increase transmission rates are available on the BEC website,, under My BEC, Member Notices.

Visit the My BEC, Member Notices for additional information