PSC will take a 'closer look' at transmission costs passed on to electric customers

Dec 1, 2017

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (I), Randy Christmann and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say they will be giving some more scrutiny to utilities that have a “transmission facility cost rider” on their monthly bills.

The PSC approved an added $1.02 on an Otter Tail Power Company customer’s monthly bill. The Commission is considering a less than $1 per month charge for transmission costs on MDU electric bills.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the costs of transmission are significant. And she says the PSC will be taking a harder look at these kinds of riders.

"We want to make sure the companies aren't 'double-dipping,' covering some cost in the rate base and some costs in the transmission rider," Fedorchak said. "We want to have real clarity on that."

Fedorchak said it's also to provide more understanding of the costs charged by the regional transmission system operators -- the Midwest Independent System Operator, as well as the Southwest Power Pool -- as well as revenues the power companies receive from those operators.

"This is an important piece of the mix for reliability," Fedorchak said. "But it's also a significant cost."

Fedorchak said the PSC could hold formal hearings on these riders, or have more discussions with the power companies.