GREAT FALLS – City Commissioners here voted during a special meeting Thursday to award an electric energy contract to Energy Keepers, a Montana company owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
The five-year contract is projected to give the city a substantial cost savings over its term.
A summary of costs will be released in two weeks, a measure intended to protect the competitive nature of the energy industry, according to city staff and the city’s energy consultant.
Four years ago, the city had just one energy supplier submit a bid, but in the meantime, more suppliers have entered the market, according to Bill Pascoe, the city’s energy consultant.
This year, the city received four bids.
“I truly believe the city is going to be in good shape,” said Commissioner Bob Jones after returning from the closed session when commissioners discussed specific details of the bids.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes own the Se̓liš Ksanka Qĺispe̓ hydroelectric dam and plant, located about five miles southwest of Polson. The site encompasses a three-unit hydroelectric plant with the capacity to generate 194 megawatts of electricity. The annual generation of the plant averages 1,100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity or enough to supply 100,000 to 110,000 homes annually.