The Montana Public Service Commission recently released data on the number of complaints it received during the first half of 2013. So far, the number of complaints are a little higher than they were in 2012.

Montana PSC Business Operations Supervisor Tina Shorten said that Northwestern Energy has received the most complaints, while Century Link received the most per capita. The most common complaints had to do with payment arrangements.

"Through the end of June, we had received 2,624 calls on our toll free complaint line," Shorten said. "We also are contacted through other means, but that's how many came in on our complaint line, and of those, 506 had resulted in complaints being entered into our system against regulated utility companies."

Many of those complaints had to do with individuals who were going to lose service due to inability to pay.

"Often times the biggest number of complaints we receive have to do with payment arrangements," Shorten said. "Somebody is looking at a disconnect and they're just not able to make that payment to keep their service active, so they try to work something out with the utility company, they're not able to, they call us."

Energy companies in Montana have a harder time disconnecting clients between November 1 and April 1. State law dictates that the PSC must approve all disconnects and that those with disabilities, on public assistance, or over the age of 62 can not be disconnected during those months.

2013 Semi-Annual Complaint Review
Photo courtesy of Montana PSC


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