Press release: Survey of NorthWestern Energy customers finds Montanans support renewable energy, Feb. 26, 2015

February 26, 2015

Categories: Clean Energy, Fossil Fuels, News, Northern Plains Resource Council

By Northern Plains Resource Council

Over four weeks in January-February 2015, Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation and family agriculture organization, informally polled the opinions of NorthWestern Energy customers across Montana regarding on-site renewable energy generation, such as rooftop solar, small-scale wind.

A total of 368 Montanans from across the state responded to a short six-question survey, which was promoted via Facebook. See the full results on our website. Highlights from the results include:

  • Nearly 98% of respondents think utility customers should have the choice to generate their own power with a small solar or wind system by “net metering.”
  • 94% of respondents disagree with NorthWestern Energy’s opposition to bills introduced in the 2015 Montana Legislature that would have made renewable energy more affordable and accessible to more Montanans.
  • Finally, almost 70% of respondents “strongly distrust” NorthWestern Energy to make decisions that are in the best interest of customers, rather than shareholders.

While this was not a scientific poll, it shows that many Montanans overwhelmingly support the right to choose to generate on-site renewable energy — rooftop solar, small-scale wind — and embrace policies that make “net metering” a possibility for more people.

“It’s time for NorthWestern Energy to see the light!” said Ed Gulick, Chair of Northern Plains’ Clean Energy Task Force, in response to the results.  “The preeminent utilities across the country are changing their business models to address these breakthrough technologies and embrace renewable energy. NorthWestern Energy needs to recognize what their customers want and be innovative– or Montana will be left behind in this sector that is rapidly growing nationwide.”

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