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Agreement reached in MDU natural gas rate case

The Public Service Commission and MDU have reached an agreement on how much the utility can raise its natural gas rates – but there’s still work to be done on the actual rates themselves.

The PSC approved the agreement.

MDU had asked for $6.8 million, or a 6.4 percent increase. Under the agreement, customers will pay another $4.2 million, an increase of just under 4 percent. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says it may seem strange to customers – that MDU is looking to raise rates when the cost of natural gas has gone down.

"This rate increase is being driven by the infrastructure to receive the gas, not by the price," said Fedorchak. "It's the pipeline to get to the house, not the gas in the pipeline."

The PSC will now hold a hearing on how those costs will be passed on to consumers. MDU is proposing that all customers will see a $2.72 monthly increase – not dependent upon the amount of gas they use.

"During our public input sessions, we really heard nothing about the need for the revenue," said PSC Chairman Brian Kalk. "What we heard was a concern from senior citizens and families about how the rate design might affect them."

That hearing will be held February 5th.

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