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MDU Electric rates to go up $2.95 per month, effective Nov. 1

Dave Thompson

MDU electric customers will see a rate increase on their monthly bills, beginning in November.

It’s part of what’s called the “Transmission Cost Adjustment Rider.”  It’s due to new transmission projects, and a drop in transmission related revenue received from two regional power grid operators.

The company had filed for a $6.3 million increase on that rider, which would have raised monthly bills by an average of $3.35 per month. North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus introduced a plan to lower that to $2.55 per month, by delaying $1.7 million of that by a year. Kroshus said utilities are entitled by law to collect these costs.

"However, give the current impact of the pandemic, this proposal if to fully exercise what limited authority  we do have to mitigate the impact in the short term, to the extent possible, and especially for low-income households," Kroshus said.

But Commissioner Randy Christmann offered an alternative, to allow MDU to start collecting that $1.7 million – but spread it over two years. And that would raise the average bill by $2.95 per month. That plan passed.

"I wish it were zero, or something less," Christmann said. "I think this substitute motion brings us to thye bext achievable balance between the risk and rewards of delaying the recovery on this."

Kroshus said the rider provides reliable delivery of power to customers, and allows MDU access to lower energy prices through the grid system.

"I would equate this to having a Sam's Club membership," Kroshus said. "It gives access to lower cost good. And in this case, lower cost energy."

Kroshus said there is a definite return to the consumer.

"It just doesn't show up on the bill," Kroshus said.

The increase will be on customers' November bills.

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