On Tuesday, the Montana Public Service Commission voted unanimously to approve an agreement for Montana-Dakota Utilities to give consumers a $1.5 million refund. PSC Communications Director Bowen Greenwood explains.

“When Congress and President Trump passed their tax cuts last year, that affected the tax rate being paid by the regulated utilities in Montana, which includes MDU,” Greenwood said. “Montana law is pretty specific that tax rates are part of what a utility passes through to its consumers and its bills. The PSC took action to make sure all the regulated utilities in Montana pass out those reductions in taxes to the customers.”

According to Greenwood, consumers can expect to receive their refund in about three months.

“Consumers should expect to see a credit on their bill probably around next April,” Greenwood said. “We are expecting it to be in the range of $23 for those who are MDU customers and who were customers at the time of the tax cuts. For those who have left MDU service before April, they might receive a small check in the mail.”

MDU argued that they were under-earning from their authorized rate of return and should not have to refund the benefits. However, consumer groups argued that utilities are not guaranteed to earn their expected rate of return and that tax savings should be refunded to the consumer.