HELENA, Mont. -

NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe is telling state regulators that the company's $900 million plan to purchase 11 hydroelectric dams and charge the cost to its electricity customers is solid.
    
Rowe said Thursday the dams are an "extraordinary set of assets" and it makes sense for NorthWestern to purchase them.
    
A consultant for the Montana Consumer Counsel said previously if the Public Service Commission approves the deal without changes, NorthWestern will get guaranteed profits and ratepayers will pay above-market prices for many years.
    
Rowe said that testimony made NorthWestern seem like a "bunch of crooks," and that the company has worked hard to build a financially sound company.
    
The five-member PSC has spent the last two weeks questioning company executives about the proposal, which would increase electric rates by 6.5 percent.