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NorthWestern Says Changes Would Nix $900M Deal to Buy 11 Dams

April 18, 2014View for printing

NorthWestern Energy would have to walk away from a $900 million deal to buy 11 hydroelectric dams in Montana if forced to make changes recommended by the state Consumer Counsel, an executive for the South Dakota-based utility said Thursday.

NorthWestern Vice President John Hines said the utility would have to go to the open market to get more power if the deal with PPL Montana falls through, which could drive up rates.

Gary Buchanan, a Billings investment adviser and former director of the state Commerce Department, said Montana can never regain what it lost when the dams were sold. But he said a sale to NorthWestern would ensure that they were not bought by a hedge fund or other investor with no obligation to consumers and that could ship the electricity generated out of state.

By Matthew Brown, Associated Press

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