Power to the Public (No. 213)

First Aired Thursday, April 14, 2005

It seems like only yesterday that SB 390 was signed into law. However, the measure that saw the demise of Montana Power and the emergence of deregulation was passed in 1998. The debate lives on. Montana Focus considers NorthWestern Energy's plans for expansion as it emerges from bankruptcy, and failed attempts by the city of Great Falls to generate its own electricity. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-TV/MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman. 

EPISODE DETAILS - 1st Segment: Public Service Commissioners Jergeson, Raney, Mood, and Molnar talk about the fact that deregulation is here to stay, but can be modified to provide customers with more choices. One being, a PSC approval for NorthWestern Energy to proceed with a 20 year contract to buy wind powered energy from a 150 megawatt wind turbine farm near Judith Gap. In the legislature, Great Falls Rep. George Golie loses a bid to allow the electric city to create its own utility district. Rep. Alan Olson tried to advance a bill that would have allowed for companies like NorthWestern to generate as well as deliver electrical power to their customers. 2nd Segment: Chuck Johnson, Lee Newspaper Capitol Bureau Chief, looks at the wind farm proposal and the school funding issue facing the 2005 legislature. 3rd Segment: Governor Schweitzer wants to lure Hollywood producers to the Big Sky, but the jury is still out on incentives to keep them from heading across the border to Canada, where it’s cheaper to make movies about Montana. 4th Segment: And, film student Lacy Wittman visits a Jane Fonda workshop aimed at building confidence in young girls.