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NorthWestern Reports First Quarter 2011 Financial Results

April 27, 2011

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

Highlights for the quarter include:

  • Net income improved $3.9 million to $32.6 million, or $.89 per fully diluted share, for the first quarter of 2011 compared with $28.7 million, or $.79 per fully diluted share, in the first quarter of 2010 due primarily to:
    • An increase in gross margin of $14.9 million primarily due to the addition of the Dave Gates Generating Station at Mill Creek (DGGS), and an increase in electric and natural gas volumes largely due to colder winter weather;
    • Lower income tax expense of $3.0 million, primarily due to the regulatory flow-through treatment of accelerated depreciation deductions;
    • Offset by an increase of $13.9 million in our operating expenses due primarily to increased operating costs, property taxes, and depreciation related to the addition of DGGS. In addition, we had increased labor costs and increased operating and maintenance costs primarily for proactive line maintenance.
  • The Company’s Board of Directors declared a common stock dividend of 36 cents per share, payable on June 30, 2011, to common shareholders of record as of June 15, 2011;
  • In March, NorthWestern received an accounting order from the Montana Public Service Commission (MPSC) to defer and amortize certain incremental operating and maintenance costs up to $16.9 million on our Distribution System Infrastructure Project for 2011 and 2012 over a 5 year period beginning 2013; and
  • Finally, we recently signed an asset purchase agreement, contingent on the MPSC approving the project into rate base, to develop a 40 megawatt wind project in central Montana.

“We are pleased with the solid financial results of the first quarter 2011,” said Bob Rowe, President and CEO. “These strong results and our free cash flow allow us to advance our strategy of bringing supply assets back into our rate base to provide our customers greater supply stability.”

“Accordingly, we plan to file for pre-approval with the MPSC to add a 40 MW wind farm in Central Montana into our rate base,” added Rowe. “We are also focused on investing in our electric and natural gas distribution systems to ensure their long-term reliability, capacity and safety for our customers.”

First Quarter Financial Results

Consolidated net income was $32.6 million or $.89 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, compared with consolidated net income of $28.7 million or $.79 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, 2010.

The following table reconciles the primary changes in 2011 results from 2010:


                                              Three Months Ended
                                              ------------------
                                                                   EPS -
                                             Pre-tax     Net       Fully
                                                        Income
    ($millions, except EPS)                   Income       (1)   Diluted
                                              ------   -------   -------

    2010 reported                               $40.9     $28.7     $0.79

    DGGS interim rates (subject to refund)        7.5       4.6      0.13
    Electric volumes                              3.1       1.9      0.05
    Natural gas volumes                           3.1       1.9      0.05
    Montana electric rate increase                1.9       1.2      0.03
    Expiration of power sales agreement           1.5       0.9      0.03
    South Dakota wholesale electric              (0.7)     (0.4)    (0.01)
    Transmission Capacity                        (0.6)     (0.4)    (0.01)
    Reclamation settlement received during
     2010                                        (0.5)     (0.3)    (0.01)
    Montana natural gas rate decrease            (0.3)     (0.2)    (0.01)
    Pension                                      (0.4)     (0.2)    (0.01)
    Insurance reserves                           (1.3)     (0.8)    (0.02)
    DGGS Operating Costs                         (1.3)     (0.8)    (0.02)
    Operating and maintenance                    (2.0)     (1.2)    (0.03)
    Property and other taxes (partially due
     to DGGS)                                    (2.4)     (1.5)    (0.04)
    Depreciation (partially due to DGGS)         (2.4)     (1.5)    (0.04)
    Labor (more expensed maintenance work vs
     capital project work)                       (3.4)     (2.1)    (0.06)
    Items related to income tax
        Repairs tax deduction                               0.6      0.02
        Accelerated depreciation                            2.6      0.07
    All other, net                               (0.9)     (0.4)    (0.02)
                                                 ----      ----     -----

    Subtotal                                                         0.10
                                                                     ----

    2011 reported                               $41.8     $32.6     $0.89
                                                =====     =====     =====
    (1) Income Tax Benefit (Expense) calculation on reconciling items
    assumes normal effective tax rate of 38.5%.

For more information see www.northwesternenergy.com/documents/investor/Q111.pdf

Consolidated gross margin for the first quarter of 2011 was $176.2 million compared with $161.3 million for the first quarter of 2010. The increase in gross margin was due to:

  • the DGGS interim rates charged to Montana retail customers, which are based on total Montana retail volumes and will fluctuate quarterly based on the cyclical nature of our business;
  • an increase in electric and natural gas retail volumes due primarily to colder winter weather;
  • a net increase in our Montana electric and natural gas distribution rates; and
  • the expiration at the end of 2010 of a power sales agreement related to Colstrip Unit 4.

These increases were partially offset by:

  • lower wholesale electric sales in South Dakota;
  • lower transmission capacity revenues caused by decreased demand; and
  • higher cost of sales due to a settlement in 2010 to recover previously incurred reclamation costs associated with the coal supply at Colstrip.

Consolidated operating, general and administrative expenses were $67.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 as compared with $58.3 million during the first quarter of 2010. The increase in operating, general and administrative expenses of $9.1 million was primarily due to the following:

  • Increased labor costs due primarily to compensation increases and more time spent by employees on maintenance projects (which are expensed) rather than capital projects;
  • Increased operating and maintenance costs due primarily to proactive line maintenance.
  • Higher insurance reserves due to workers compensation and general liability matters. In addition, results for the three months ended March 31, 2010 included a favorable arbitration decision of $0.8 million.
  • Higher plant operator costs due primarily to operations of DGGS; and
  • Higher pension expense.

Property and other taxes was $25.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 as compared with $23.0 million in the first quarter of 2010, due primarily to plant additions, including the addition of DGGS.

Depreciation expense was $25.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 as compared with $22.9 million in the first quarter of 2010. This increase was primarily due to plant additions, including DGGS.

Consolidated interest expense for the three months ended March 31, 2011 remained flat at $17.1 million, as compared to the same period in 2010, with lower rates on debt outstanding offset by lower capitalization of AFUDC as DGGS began operating in January 2011.

Consolidated other income in the first quarter of 2011 remained flat at $0.8 million.

Consolidated income tax expense for the three months ended March 31, 2011 was $9.2 million as compared with a $12.2 million in the same period of 2010. The effective tax rate in 2011 was 22.0% as compared with 29.8% for the same period of 2010. The decrease in the effective tax rate was primarily due to the regulatory flow-through treatment of state accelerated depreciation deductions. For the three months ended March 31, 2011, we recognized a total bonus depreciation related tax benefit of approximately $2.6 million as compared with no related benefit during the same period in 2010.

Results from Electric Operations

Regulated electric gross margin for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, was $124.2 million, up 10.1%, compared with $112.8 million for 2010. The improvement in margin is primarily due to DGGS interim rates, increased volumes largely due to colder weather in Montana, an increase in Montana rates, and the expiration in December 2010 of a power sales agreement related to Colstrip Unit 4. These increases were offset in part by lower wholesale sales in South Dakota at lower average prices, lower revenues for operating expenses recovered in supply trackers primarily related to customer efficiency programs, a decline in transmission capacity demand, and the inclusion in the first quarter of 2010 of a settlement to recover previously incurred reclamation costs associated with the coal supply at Colstrip, which reduced cost of sales. Demand for transmission capacity can fluctuate substantially from year to year based on weather and market conditions in states to the South and West. For example, increased availability of local natural gas fired generation due to low natural gas prices and increased generation in the Pacific Northwest due to favorable hydro conditions may make it more economically viable to utilize local generation rather than transmit electricity from Montana over our transmission lines.

Regulated retail electric volumes for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, totaled 2,684,000 megawatt hours compared with 2,582,000 megawatt hours for the quarter ended 2010. Retail volumes increased primarily due to colder weather and customer growth.

Wholesale electric volumes were 31,000 megawatt hours for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, a decrease from 243,000 megawatt hours for 2010. We no longer have Montana wholesale volumes due to the expiration of a remaining wholesale supply contract associated with Colstrip. Beginning January 1, 2011 these volumes are used to supply our retail demand. Wholesale volumes decreased in South Dakota from lower plant utilization due to market conditions.

Results from Natural Gas Operations

Regulated natural gas gross margin was $51.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, compared with $48.2 million during 2010. This increase in margin was primarily due to colder winter weather in Montana and South Dakota and higher revenues for operating expenses recovered in supply trackers primarily related to customer efficiency programs. These increases were offset in part by a decrease in Montana natural gas rates.

Regulated retail natural gas volumes were 14,289,000 dekatherms for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, compared with 13,685,000 dekatherms for the same period in 2010.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of March 31, 2011, cash and cash equivalents were $7.2 million as compared with $6.2 million at December 31, 2010 and $7.1 million at March 31, 2010. The Company had $163.5 million available from its revolving credit facility at March 31, 2011.

Cash provided by operating activities totaled $122.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 as compared with $106.3 million during the three months ended March 31, 2010. This increase in operating cash flows is primarily related to improvements in the collection of our supply costs and increased net income.

Cash used in investing activities decreased by approximately $20.2 million as compared with the first quarter of 2010 due primarily to additions related to the DGGS project in the prior year.

Cash used in financing activities totaled approximately $83.5 million in the first quarter of 2011 as compared with approximately $45.7 million during the three months ended March 31, 2010. During the first quarter of 2011, net cash used in financing activities consisted of the net revolving credit facility repayments of $153.0 million, net issuance of commercial paper of $86.0 million, the repayment of long-term debt of $3.6 million and the payment of dividends of $13.0 million. During the first quarter of 2010, we made debt repayments of $33.4 million and paid dividends on common stock of $12.2 million.

Dividend Declaration

NorthWestern’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly common stock dividend of 36 cents per share, payable on June 30, 2011, to common shareholders of record as of June 15, 2011.

Rate Case Update

In December 2010, the Company received a final order approving our joint Stipulation and Settlement Agreement (Stipulation) with the Montana Consumer Counsel regarding the revenue requirement portion of the rate filing. Key provisions of the final order are as follows:

  • An increase in base electric rates of $6.4 million;
  • A decrease in base natural gas rates of approximately $1.0 million; and
  • An authorized return on equity of 10.0% and 10.25% for base electric and natural gas rates, respectively.
  • The overall authorized rates of return are based on the equity percentages above, long-term debt cost of 5.76% and a capital structure of 52% debt and 48% equity.

The order included an additional MPSC requirement to implement a modified lost revenue adjustment mechanism (previously proposed as a decoupling mechanism), an inclining block rate structure for electric energy supply customers, and a reduction to the authorized return on equity in the Stipulation for base electric rates from 10.25% to 10.0%. The change in return on equity reduced the electric revenue requirement increase from $7.7 million to $6.4 million. NorthWestern recognized revenue and implemented rates consistent with the MPSC’s final order; however, we appealed the MPSC’s decision to the Montana district court due to the required implementation of a modified lost revenue adjustment mechanism and the related reduction in return on equity and the block rate design.

The MPSC and the Company entered into settlement discussions and exchanged counter offers with the MPSC to settle this matter. In April 2011, the MPSC accepted our district court counteroffer, which removes the modified lost revenue adjustment mechanism, inclining block rate structure and reinstates a 10.25% return on equity, previously contained in the Stipulation. In addition, to settle the district court case we agreed to a $0.7 million reduction of electric rates as compared to the original Stipulation.

2011 Earnings Outlook

NorthWestern reaffirms its earnings for 2011 to be $2.25 – $2.40 per fully diluted share.

Basic assumptions include the following expectations:

  • Adding the DGGS to rate base and the associated earnings;
  • A full year effect of the increase related to our Montana transmission and distribution electric rates;
  • The expiration of a power sale agreement associated with our ownership in Colstrip Unit 4;
  • Increased electric and natural gas volumes due to an assumption of some additional economic recovery in 2011;
  • The Battle Creek Field will contribute for the full year;
  • In addition, we expect a small tax benefit from additional bonus tax depreciation related to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010
  • Offsetting these positive drivers for 2011 are negative drivers such as:
    • We expect labor and other operating expenses to increase in 2011 compared with 2010;
    • We will be experiencing some scheduled maintenance at the Big Stone Plant in South Dakota in 2011 decreasing output and revenues;
    • We expect an increase in property taxes and depreciation expense in 2011 as we continue to increase our capital investment
    • Finally, the strong hydro conditions in the Northwest US began to negatively impact margins in March related to our off-system transmission sales.
      • The strong hydro conditions are expected to continue through the second quarter of 2011.
  • A consolidated effective income tax rate of approximately 20% – 24%;
  • Fully diluted average shares outstanding of 36.5 million; and
  • Normal weather in the Company’s electric and natural gas service territories for 2011.

Company Hosting Investor Conference Call

NorthWestern will host an investor conference call today at 4:00 pm Eastern Time (3:00 p.m. Central Time) to review its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

The conference call will be webcast live on the Internet at http://www.northwesternenergy.com under the “Investor Information” heading. To listen, please go to the site at least 10 minutes in advance of the call to register. An archived webcast will be available shortly after the call.

A telephonic replay of the call will be available beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET on Feb. 11, 2011, through May 27, 2011, at 800-475-6701, access code 199056.

Annual Meeting

NorthWestern will hold its annual stockholders meeting today, at 9:30 a.m. Central Time at the Holiday Inn Midtown, 2503 S. Locust Street, Grand Island, Nebraska.

The annual stockholders meeting will be webcast live on the Internet at http://www.northwesternenergy.com under the “Investor Information” heading.

To listen, please go to the site at least 10 minutes in advance of the call to register. An archived webcast will be available shortly after the call.

About NorthWestern Energy

NorthWestern Energy is one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 665,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the Company’s Web site at www.northwesternenergy.com.

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD–LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, the information under “2011 Earnings Outlook”. Forward-looking statements often address our expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” or “will.” These statements are based upon our current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof. Our actual future business and financial performance may differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and uncertainties, including, but not limited to:

  • potential adverse federal, state, or local legislation or regulation, including costs of compliance with existing and future environmental requirements, as well as adverse determinations by regulators, could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition;
  • we have capitalized approximately $17.3 million in preliminary survey and investigative costs related to our proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) transmission project. If our efforts to complete MSTI are not successful we may have to write-off all or a portion these costs which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations;
  • changes in availability of trade credit, creditworthiness of counterparties, usage, commodity prices, fuel supply costs or availability due to higher demand, shortages, weather conditions, transportation problems or other developments, may reduce revenues or may increase operating costs, each of which could adversely affect our liquidity and results of operations;
  • unscheduled generation outages or forced reductions in output, maintenance or repairs, which may reduce revenues and increase cost of sales or may require additional capital expenditures or other increased operating costs; and
  • adverse changes in general economic and competitive conditions in the U.S. financial markets and in our service territories.

Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, recent and forthcoming Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings discuss some of the important risk factors that may affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

                      NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
               CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                           (in thousands)
                                                               December
                                            March 31,             31,
                                                  2011              2010
                                                  ----              ----
                                           (unaudited)
    ASSETS
    Current Assets                            $271,032          $303,054
    Property, Plant, and Equipment,
     Net                                     2,127,254         2,117,977
    Goodwill                                   355,128           355,128
    Regulatory Assets                          224,896           222,341
    Other Noncurrent Assets                     38,129            39,169
                                                ------            ------
        Total Assets                        $3,016,439        $3,037,669
                                            ==========        ==========
    LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS'
     EQUITY
    Current Maturities of Long-term
     Debt and Capital Leases                    $8,050            $7,854
    Short-term Borrowings                       85,989                 -
    Current Liabilities                        300,724           296,115
    Long-term Capital Leases                    33,957            34,288
    Long-term Debt                             905,003         1,061,780
    Noncurrent Regulatory Liabilities          256,079           251,133
    Deferred Income Taxes                      248,487           232,709
    Other Noncurrent Liabilities               337,318           333,443
                                               -------           -------
        Total Liabilities                    2,175,607         2,217,322
                                             ---------         ---------
    Total Shareholders' Equity                 840,832           820,347
                                               -------           -------
    Total Liabilities and
     Shareholders' Equity                   $3,016,439        $3,037,669
                                            ==========        ==========

              NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
    CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                    (unaudited)
     (in thousands, except per share amounts)
                                          Three Months
                                          Ended March
                                                  31,
                                            -------------
                                          2011            2010
                                          ----            ----
    Revenues
       Electric                       $208,622        $203,839
       Gas                             129,212         130,019
       Other                               426             315
                                           ---             ---
         Total Revenues                338,260         334,173
                                       -------         -------
    Operating Expenses
       Cost of sales                   162,071         172,827
       Operating, general and
        administrative                  67,383          58,308
       Property and other taxes         25,396          22,968
       Depreciation                     25,315          22,875
                                        ------          ------
         Total Operating Expenses      280,165         276,978
                                       -------         -------
    Operating Income                    58,095          57,195
                                        ------          ------
    Interest Expense                   (17,147)        (17,050)
    Other Income                           805             753
                                           ---             ---
    Income Before Income Taxes          41,753          40,898
    Income Tax Expense                  (9,178)        (12,180)
                                        ------         -------
    Net Income                         $32,575         $28,718
                                       -------         -------

    Average Common Shares
     Outstanding                        36,242          36,169
                                        ------          ------
    Basic Earnings per Average
     Common Share                        $0.90           $0.79
                                         -----           -----
    Diluted Earnings per Average
     Common Share                        $0.89           $0.79
                                         -----           -----
    Dividends Declared per
     Average Common Share               $0.360          $0.340
                                        ------          ------

                NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
    CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
                      (unaudited)
                     (in thousands)
                                        Three Months
                                         Ended March
                                                 31,
                                         2011           2010
                                         ----           ----
    Operating Activities
    Net income                        $32,575        $28,718
    Non-cash items                     45,608         39,897
    Changes in operating
     assets and liabilities            43,897         37,655
                                       ------         ------
    Cash Provided by Operating
     Activities                       122,080        106,270

    Cash Used in Investing
     Activities                       (37,580)       (57,796)

    Cash Used In Financing
     Activities                       (83,554)       (45,690)

    Net Increase in Cash and
     Cash Equivalents                    $946         $2,784
                                          ---         ------
    Cash and Cash Equivalents,
     beginning of period               $6,234         $4,344
                                       ------         ------
    Cash and Cash Equivalents,
     end of period                     $7,180         $7,128
                                       ======         ======

                          NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
           QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2011 AND 2010 SEGMENT RESULTS
                                (Unaudited)
    Three
     Months
     Ended
    March 31,
     2011           Electric   Gas      Other      Eliminations   Total
                    --------   ---      -----      ------------   -----
    Operating
     revenues       $208,622  $129,212       $426       $       -     $338,260
    Cost of
     sales            84,446    77,625          -              -      162,071
                      ------    ------        ---            ---      -------
    Gross
     margin          124,176    51,587        426              -      176,189
                     -------    ------        ---            ---      -------
    Operating,
     general
     and
     administrative   45,286    21,448        649              -       67,383
    Property
     and other
     taxes            18,741     6,652          3              -       25,396
    Depreciation      20,354     4,953          8              -       25,315
                      ------     -----        ---            ---       ------
    Operating
     income
     (loss)           39,795    18,534       (234)             -       58,095
                      ------    ------       ----            ---       ------
    Interest
     expense         (13,527)   (2,665)      (955)             -      (17,147)
    Other
     income              615       164         26              -          805
    Income tax
     expense          (3,921)   (4,570)      (687)             -       (9,178)
                      ------    ------       ----            ---       ------
    Net income
     (loss)          $22,962   $11,463    $(1,850)      $       -      $32,575
                     -------   -------    -------     ---     ---      -------


    Three Months
     Ended
    March 31, 2010     Electric    Gas    Other   Eliminations Total
                       --------    ---    -----   ------------ -----
    Operating
     revenues         $203,839  $130,019    $315     $       -   $334,173
    Cost of sales       91,065    81,762       -            -    172,827
                        ------    ------     ---          ---    -------
    Gross margin       112,774    48,257     315            -    161,346
                       -------    ------     ---          ---    -------
    Operating,
     general and
     administrative     40,016    17,893     399            -     58,308
    Property and
     other taxes        16,773     6,154      41            -     22,968
    Depreciation        18,504     4,363       8            -     22,875
                        ------     -----     ---          ---     ------
    Operating income
     (loss)             37,481    19,847    (133)           -     57,195
                        ------    ------    ----          ---     ------
    Interest expense   (13,193)   (3,145)   (712)           -    (17,050)
    Other income           457       269      27            -        753
    Income tax
     (expense)
     benefit            (6,534)   (5,739)     93            -    (12,180)
                        ------    ------     ---          ---    -------
    Net income (loss)  $18,211   $11,232   $(725)    $       -     28,718
                       -------   -------   -----   ---     ---     ------

                        NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
                            ELECTRIC SEGMENT
                   Three Months Ended March 31, 2011
                              (Unaudited)
                                     Results
                                     -------
                             2011      2010     Change   % Change
                             ----      ----     ------   --------
                                  (in millions)
    Retail revenue      $196.2    $170.4         $25.8   15.1%
    Transmission          10.9      11.5          (0.6)  (5.2)
    Wholesale              0.3      11.0         (10.7) (97.3)
    Regulatory
     amortization and
     other                 1.2      10.9          (9.7) (89.0)
                           ---      ----          ----  -----
    Total Revenues       208.6     203.8           4.8    2.4
    Total Cost of Sales   84.4      91.0          (6.6)  (7.3)
                          ----      ----          ----   ----
    Gross Margin        $124.2    $112.8         $11.4   10.1%
                        ------    ------         -----   ----


                                  Revenues
                                  --------
                                  2011                2010
                                  ----                ----
                               (in thousands)
    Retail Electric
    Montana                 $75,663             $63,596
    South Dakota             13,393              12,845
                             ------              ------
       Residential           89,056              76,441
                             ------              ------
    Montana                  77,133              66,218
    South Dakota             16,309              15,808
                             ------              ------
    Commercial               93,442              82,026
                             ------              ------
    Industrial                9,183               7,767
    Other                     4,520               4,205
                              -----               -----
    Total Retail
     Electric              $196,201            $170,439
                           ========            ========
    Wholesale
     Electric
    Montana            $          -              $9,934
    South Dakota                309               1,078
                                ---               -----
    Total Wholesale
     Electric                  $309             $11,012
                               ====             =======


                              Megawatt Hours
                                  (MWH)
                                --------------
                              2011            2010
                              ----            ----
                             (in thousands)
    Retail Electric
    Montana                 731             680
    South Dakota            179             176
                            ---             ---
       Residential          910             856
                            ---             ---
    Montana                 820             788
    South Dakota            238             238
                            ---             ---
    Commercial            1,058           1,026
                          -----           -----
    Industrial              692             676
    Other                    24              24
                            ---             ---
    Total Retail
     Electric             2,684           2,582
                          =====           =====
    Wholesale
     Electric
    Montana                   -             204
    South Dakota             31              39
                            ---             ---
    Total Wholesale
     Electric                31             243
                            ===             ===


                              Avg. Customer
                                  Counts
                                -------------
                              2011            2010
                              ----            ----

    Retail Electric
    Montana             272,526         270,923
    South Dakota         48,705          48,422
                         ------          ------
       Residential      321,231         319,345
                        -------         -------
    Montana              61,459          60,799
    South Dakota         11,789          11,622
                         ------          ------
    Commercial           73,248          72,421
                         ------          ------
    Industrial               72              71
    Other                 4,620           4,623
                          -----
    Total Retail
     Electric           399,171         396,460
                        =======         =======
    Wholesale
     Electric
    Montana                   N/A            N/A
    South Dakota              N/A            N/A
                              ---            ---
    Total Wholesale
     Electric                 -               -
                            ===             ===

                      NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION
                        NATURAL GAS SEGMENT
                 Three Months Ended March 31, 2011
                            (Unaudited)
                                 Results
                                 -------
                       2011      2010       Change   % Change
                       ----      ----       ------   --------
                              (in millions)
    Retail
     revenue      $121.0    $118.4             $2.6    2.2%
    Wholesale and
     other           8.2      11.6             (3.4) (29.3)
                     ---      ----             ----  -----
    Total
     Revenues      129.2     130.0             (0.8)  (0.6)
    Total Cost of
     Sales          77.6      81.8             (4.2)  (5.1)
                    ----      ----             ----   ----
    Gross Margin   $51.6     $48.2             $3.4    7.1%
                   -----     -----              ---    ---


                                Revenues
                                --------
                              2011               2010
                              ----               ----
                             (in thousands)
    Retail Gas
    Montana             $51,100            $44,620
    South Dakota         13,306             14,551
    Nebraska             11,486             12,833
                         ------             ------
    Residential          75,892             72,004
                         ------             ------
    Montana              26,438             22,413
    South Dakota          9,302             13,268
    Nebraska              8,242              9,506
                          -----              -----
    Commercial           43,982             45,187
                         ------             ------
    Industrial              691                826
    Other                   449                390
                            ---                ---
    Total Retail
     Gas               $121,014           $118,407
                       ========           ========


                          Dekatherms (Dkt)
                          ----------------
                            2011             2010
                            ----             ----
                           (in thousands)
    Retail Gas
    Montana             5,638            4,954
    South Dakota        1,599            1,567
    Nebraska            1,382            1,448
                        -----            -----
    Residential         8,619            7,969
                        -----            -----
    Montana             2,915            2,484
    South Dakota        1,332            1,732
    Nebraska            1,287            1,355
                        -----            -----
    Commercial          5,534            5,571
                        -----            -----
    Industrial             78               94
    Other                  58               51
                          ---              ---
    Total Retail
     Gas               14,289           13,685
                       ======           ======


                           Customer Counts
                           ---------------
                            2011             2010
                            ----             ----

    Retail Gas
    Montana           159,029          158,294
    South Dakota       37,712           37,574
    Nebraska           36,949           36,875
                       ------           ------
    Residential       233,690          232,743
                      -------          -------
    Montana            22,273           22,090
    South Dakota        5,954            5,962
    Nebraska            4,636            4,606
                        -----            -----
    Commercial         32,863           32,658
                       ------           ------
    Industrial            282              292
    Other                 145              146
                          ---              ---
    Total Retail
     Gas              266,980          265,839
                      =======          =======

SOURCE NorthWestern Corporation


Source: newswire



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