Universal System Benefits Program (Montana)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Rules Regulations Policies Program

Place Montana

Name Universal System Benefits Program
Incentive Type Public Benefits Fund
Applicable Sector Commercial, General Public/Consumer, Industrial, Institutional, Residential, Utility
Eligible Technologies Geothermal Electric, Passive Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Solar Water Heat, Wind, Unspecified technologies
Active Incentive Yes

Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs, Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Charge Surcharge rate based on 2.4% of electric utilities' 1995 revenue

Total Fund Approximately 9 million annually
Types Efficiency, conservation, renewable energy, low-income energy assistance, R&D

Website http://www.deq.mt.gov/Energy/renewable/taxincentrenew.mcpx#69-8-402
Date added to DSIRE 2000-01-01
Last DSIRE Review 2012-08-21

References DSIRE[1]


Montana established the Universal System Benefits Program (USBP) in 1997 as part of its restructuring legislation. The USBP supports cost-effective energy conservation, low-income customer weatherization, renewable-energy projects and applications, research and development programs related to energy conservation and renewables, market transformation designed to encourage competitive markets for public purpose programs, and low-income energy assistance.

Beginning January 1, 1999, all electric utilities -- including electric cooperatives -- must contribute revenue generated from a surcharge on customers' electricity use. In 1997, the surcharge was set through electricity restructuring legislation and was based on 2.4% of electric utilities' 1995 revenues. This surcharge is determined by the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) and by individual electric cooperatives. However, the surcharge rate has not been adjusted since that time, so annual collections have increased slightly as utility loads have increased over time. In 2011, approximately $9.4 million was collected from utilities regulated by the PSC via a non-bypassable surcharge on customers' electricity use. The amount collected annually varies, depending on weather and economic conditions. Utilities may spend all or a portion of the funds on internal programs, or may opt to contract or fund eligible programs externally. Large-scale electricity users with a load exceeding one megawatt (MW) may choose to fund qualifying internal energy programs with monies that otherwise would be remitted to the USBP. The most recent report, covering 2011 collections, is available here.

The USBP was set to expire December 31, 2009, but H.B. 27 removed the expiration date and extended the program indefinitely.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name Will Rosquist
Department Montana Public Service Commission

Address 1701 Prospect Avenue
Address 2 Vista Building
Place Helena, Montana
Zip/Postal Code 59620-2601
Phone (406) 444-6359
Phone 2 (406) 444-6199

Email wrosquist@mt.gov
Website http://www.psc.mt.gov/

Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: MCA 69-8-402
Date Effective 1999-01-01
Date Enacted 1997

Authority 2: MONT. ADMIN. R. 42.29.101 et seq.

Date Enacted 1999, subsequently amended

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"