PSC to investigate how federal tax cuts could affect utility rates

Jan 11, 2018

North Dakota Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (l); chairman Randy Christmann; and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson

The federal tax cut bill could mean lower electric and natural gas rates.

That’s what the North Dakota Public Service Commission believes. The PSC has opened a formal investigation on the effect of the tax cuts on those rates.

Corporate tax rates went from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective January first.

The PSC will be asking Xcel Energy, MDU, Otter Tail Power and Great Plains Natural gas for information on how the tax cut will affect their finances.

"This tax reduction may provide an opportunity to reduce the rates to North Dakota customers," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said corporate taxes figure directly into the rates the utilities charge.

"It stands to reason that, when you see line items on rate cases for taxes, that when you drop that amount 14 percent, there's going to be a savings," Fedorchak said.

Commission chairman Randy Christmann said already some utilities on the East Coast have announced they will be cutting their rates, thanks to the tax cut.

The Commission is hoping to have the answers by mid-February.