PSC formal hearing on MDU natural gas rate case

May 31, 2018

MDU President and CEO Nichole Kivisto testifies before the North Dakota Public Service Commission on MDU's natural gas rate increase request (5/30/18).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission is holding a formal hearing on MDU’s request for a natural gas rate increase.

Under it, rates would go up 3.3 percent, or about $3.6 million. That means the basic service charge – the cost to bring the gas to the customer – would increase from $19.60 per month to $21.42 --  an increase of $1.82. But MDU is also proposing what it calls the “System Safety and Integrity Program.” It would add another 42 cents a month to a customer's bill. The utility said it would be used to replace some of its aging pipelines without having to file for a full rate case.

"Our infrastructure is not getting any younger," MDU President and CEO Nichole Kivisto testified at that hearing. "We do believe now is the time to implement a mechanism that will provide us the ability to look at pro-actively replacing our aging infrastructure."

AARP-North Dakota -- one of the intervenors in the case -- questioned the need for that additional surcharge.

"The question we have is -- if you're already operating a safe system, why do you want a new charge that can essentially skirt being a part of a larger discussion on how these rates are set?" AARp-North Dakota state director Josh Askvig said in an interview.

The formal hearing will go until Friday. A decision on the final rates will come later.