Missoula attorney enters race for Montana PSC with clean energy platform

Monica Tranel

A Montana attorney with Missoula roots announced her candidacy for the Montana Public Service Commission on Monday with a platform based on clean energy and lower utility rates.

Monica Tranel, a former trustee with Missoula Youth Homes and an attorney with more than 20 years of experience working with the Public Service Commission, will run in District 4 representing Missoula, Ravalli, Powel, Mineral, Sanders and Lincoln counties.

“I’m running for public service commissioner to make Montana a clean energy leader in today’s economy,” Tranel said in a statement. “We can generate millions of dollars of new investment and good-paying jobs in our communities. We can optimize our tremendous resources and move into tomorrow with our energy, our power and our ability to stand at the front of a transition that will make our children proud.”

Tranel, who competed in two Olympic Games, served as a staff attorney for the PSC from 2001 to 2005 and worked for the Consumer Counsel from 2014 to 2016. She currently runs the Tranel Law Firm, which is focused on regulatory issues before the PSC.

The firm also focuses on water and property rights, and represents clients who want to invest in clean energy projects.

If elected, Tranel said she will focus on lowering Montanans’ energy bills, holding power companies accountable, and promoting responsible energy development, investment, and job creation in Montana communities.

“Right now, the PSC is making decisions based on fiction, not facts, and it’s resulting in a direct economic blow to Montana’s rural schools, roads, and emergency responders,” Tranel said.

“Montanans shouldn’t feel the impacts of a dysfunctional PSC in their pocketbooks or on their monthly utility bills. It’s inexcusable to hold Montana hostage to last century’s technology and shareholder profits.”

PSC Commissioner Bob Lake currently holds the seat. He was elected in 2012.