electric rates

MDU granted interim electric rate increase

Dec 1, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MDU has been granted an interim electric rate increase -- prior to its pending rate case before the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

Under state law, a utility has the right to interim rates.

MDU has filed for an overall 9.4% increase, which would raise an average customer’s power bill by $9.58 a month, based on 980 kilowatt-hours per month. The utility also asked for a 6.5 percent interim increase. But Commissioner Brian Kalk saids it was refigured to grant a 5.8% interim increase.

"It's approximately $6 per month for the average customer," Kalk said.

MDU electric customers will see an extra charge on their bills.

The Public Service Commission has approved a change to MDU’s Generation and Resource Recovery Rider. The change will help pay for the 88 megawatt natural gas turbine at the Heskett power station north of Mandan, as well as two internal combustion engines at the Lewis and Clark generating station in the Oil Patch.

"The revenue MDU needs is about $9.6 million," said Commissioner Brian Kalk. "There's an increase of $1.94 for the average MDU customer per month."

The Public Service Commission has reached what it’s calling a comprehensive settlement with Xcel Energy over a number of issues.

And the PSC says the bottom line is: Customers will see a refund on their monthly bills, and Xcel will freeze its electric rates until 2017.

Otter Tail Power Company is asking the North Dakota Public Service Commission for its OK to add a renewable energy charge to its monthly electric bills.

The proposal would add $1.08 to a customer using 1000 kilowatts. Otter Tail says this is to cover the costs of electricity generated by the Langdon, Ashtabula and Luverne wind farms. 

Commissioner Brian Kalk says he’s concerned about this – because normally, the PSC grants those riders because new generation is being added.

MDU electric customers to get a bill credit

May 27, 2015

MDU electric customers will see a credit on their bills in June and July.

"In 2014, MDU had a projected earning, and they exceeded that project earning," said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk. "Anything that exceeds that projected earning, they have to go back and split half of it withy their customers."

Kalk says that means customers will see an average $2.14 of credit on each of the bills.

MDU electric customers will see their monthly bills increase by an average of $2.57 – to pay for the new natural gas fired peaking turbine at the Heskett power plant, north of Mandan.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the charge – which will appear as a separate rider on the bill.

"You know, we want these things to be available, but they do cost money," said Commissioner Brian Kalk. "This is something MDU has needed to keep their reliability and voltage. And there's a cost to it."

Electric reliability seminar scheduled for Fargo

Sep 8, 2014

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is sponsoring a half-day forum in Fargo Wednesday on electric reliability.

"The title is 'Electric Liability -- Keeping the Lights On in North Dakota,'" said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. She says the forum will have several purposes. She says the Commission wants to start an on-going discussion with the public on how some of the issues will affect consumers’ pocketbooks.

MDU electric customers will NOT pay any extra for the new natural gas turbine at the Heskett Plant, north of Mandan.

The 88 megawatt plant cost $76 million to build – which MDU says was 11 percent under budget.

MDU had originally proposed a three dollar charge per month on customers’ bills. It reduced that to two dollars, once it decided it would not charge for a pipeline project to bring the natural gas to that plant.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says PSC staff worked with the utility on a settlement agreement.

MDU and Otter Tail Power Company customers could see their monthly electric bills go up to pay for pollution control equipment being installed at the Big Stone power plant in northeast South Dakota.

The plant is adding scrubbers and other equipment to comply with new EPA guidelines.

"The initial budget for the project was $489 million," said North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "With this filing, the estimate is now $384 million. It's a 20 percent total decrease."

Xcel, PSC agree on a four-year rate plan

Feb 27, 2014

The Public Service Commission has approved a four year electric rate increase plan for Xcel Energy’s North Dakota customers.

Xcel had asked for a $16.9 million rate increase at the end of 2012. That’s a 9.25 percent rate hike. It was granted an interim 8 percent increase, or $14.7 million. But under the settlement reached with the PSC, Xcel will see its rates go up by 4.9 percent per year for the next three years, with no increase in the fourth year.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says the settlement  means the rates are locked for four years – and that benefits customers.