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Xcel natural gas customers will see higher bills, temporarily, because of Feb. cold spell

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Xcel Energy natural gas customers in North Dakota will see an increase in their monthly bills starting in July.

That’s a “pass-through” cost of the natural gas, brought on by the cold snap in Texas, which caused price spikes.

The impact to the consumer is about $200, spread out over 15 months. That was the compromise reached by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, after a “work session” on the issue.

"The benefit of starting it in July is we can start spreading those costs out over a longer period of time," said PSC member Brian Kroshus. "July is not a high-cost month in terms of heating a home."

Kroshus said that would help mitigate the impact to low-income households and small businesses, in particular. He said low-income households are his biggest concern.

"They live paycheck-to-paycheck," Kroshus said. "That's the reality."

The charge will be in effect through September, 2022. The PSC still has to formally approve the plan. And the Commission will hold a special meeting on it next week.

MDU started collecting the cost in June. MDU Spokesman Mark Hanson says the average MDU customer is seeing a $3.87 per month charge on the bill through December, and from January through September, that will go up to $4.48 per month.

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