The Montana Public Service Commission is thinking about hiring help to weigh whether to accept Northwestern Energy's proposal to buy eleven hydroelectric dams from PPL Montana.
According to an official with the commission, Will Rosquist, the decision involves two main considerations.
The first is understanding the software Northwestern plans to use to model the comparison of cost to the consumer of the hydroelectric generators versus other alternatives. The second is estimating how much it will cost to own and operate the dams several years down the road.
Right now, staff with the commission are looking into what resources might help make this decision.
"The commission did sort of signal that it would like to make a decision sooner rather than later so I expect in the next several weeks," said Rosquist, regarding the decision to hire a consultant or not.
Once a decision to hire a consultant is made, the commission will have nine months after December 24 to decide on Northwestern's proposed purchase.