MDU electric customers could see lower rates, one-time bill credit

Aug 30, 2018

Public Service Commissioners and staff at an informal public hearing with MDU representatives.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission got a look at how MDU electric customers will benefit from the federal “Tax Cut and Jobs Act.”

That bill reduced corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent. And in a settlement with PSC staff, MDU is planning to reduce rates by about $5 a month on average for a residential customer using 980 kilowatt hours of electricity. That would take effect October first. In addition, MDU will give customers a one-time bill credit for rates charged after the tax bill became law, and before the new rates kick in. MDU says that would be around $28 for the average residential customer.

"I like the numbers," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "I like the way the settlement is shaping up."

Kroshus said he and his fellow commissioners have a few questions for the utility. but he doesn't think those will be deal-breakers.

"I think it's a great example of what the TCJA doesn, not only for residential customers, but also for business class customers as well," Kroshus said. "That will help them be more efficient in their operations, and that's good for their employees as well."

MDU spokesman MarkHanson said the utility’s savings in federal taxes would be very close to the amount the utility was granted in a 2017 rate case.

"The tax benefit is paying for the investments that customers were going to be paying under the last rate case," Hanson said.

No word yet on when the PSC will formally act on the proposed settlement.

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