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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC to hear public comments in Scotland about NorthWestern Energy's
proposed natural gas rate increase

PIERRE, S.D. -- The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will hold a public hearing in Scotland, S.D., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, to hear comments and questions about the natural gas rate increase proposed by NorthWestern Energy. The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. CDT in the basement meeting room at City Hall, 410 Main St. The public hearing will adjourn at the conclusion of comments and questions from all persons who have arrived before 8:30 p.m.

On May 20, 2011, the commission received an application by NorthWestern Energy for approval to increase rates for natural gas service in its South Dakota service territory by $4,123,035 annually or 7.20 percent based on NorthWestern's test year ending Dec. 31, 2010. The company states the proposed increase for a residential customer would be $8.31 per month based on average annual usage. The proposed rates may potentially affect approximately 43,750 customers in NorthWestern's South Dakota service territory.

PUC Commissioners Gary Hanson, Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen will be present to hear comments from the public. NorthWestern Energy representatives will be available to address specific questions.

Visit South Dakota Public Utilities Commission docket NG11-003 online for more information on the NorthWestern Energy natural gas rate increase request and related filings submitted to the commission. To access the information, go to, click on "Commission Actions," "Commission Dockets," "Natural Gas Dockets," "2011 Natural Gas Dockets," and "NG11-003."