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Otter Tail customers will see bills go up an average of $4.24

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Dave Thompson
/
Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved Otter Tail Power Company’s 2021 Renewable Resource cost recovery rider.

That means Otter Tail customers will see an extra $4.24 per month on their bills.

A year ago, the PSC approved a $4 monthly charge for the rider. It takes into account the Merricourt Wind Farm’s production tax credit.

Up until that time, utilities had been using the credit to give the customers a break on their bills up-front, with a spike after the credit expires in 10 years. The Commission decided to smooth things out, so the spike would be lower after 10 years.

That plan was approved by the Commission on a 2 to 1 vote last March. Commissioner Brian Kroshus opposed it then, and he voted against the 2021 rider, arguing less-than-ideal timing, given the current economic situation.

"Low-and-fixed-income households, in particular, have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic," Kroshus said. "This does place an additional financial burden on them, at a time when they really can't afford it."

Commissioner Randy Christmann said this was appropriate.

"The issues to be considered in this matter are whether the investments and associated costs for the resources qualify for recovery, and they do," Christmann said. "Whether the incurred costs are reasonable and prudent, and they are, and whether the rate adjustments are consistent with the terms of Otter Tail's tariff, and they are."

Commission chairman Julie Fedorchak said she fully supports the PSC’s attempt to smooth-out those charges, and avoid a spike down the road.

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