On Tuesday, October 20, the Montana Public Service Commission opened a docket to examine a hike in property taxes on NorthWestern Energy.

"The Department of Revenue has calculated in an approximate 42 percent increase, in their companies taxable valuation here in Montana," PSC Pubic Information Officer Eric Sell. "That's a fairly significant increase, and it's due in part to the acquisition to the hydro dams from last year. So the docket that we initiated is designed to look into that, and make sure it is an accurate number."

Sell says that unless something changes, the money needed to pay the higher taxes will come from rate payers.

"Right now we don't have an exact number as to what it will translate into as far as a dollar amount, but we do know that with a 42% increase in the valuation of [NorthWestern Energy's] property assets here in the state, that it will mean some increases in rates for consumers."

Sell says that the PSC will explore ways to possibly mitigate the tax hike from hitting rate payers before the rates are set in January.