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PSC to hold 'virtual' public input sessions on Xcel's natural gas rate increase

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has scheduled two public input sessions on Xcel Energy’s request for increased rates for its natural gas service.

Xcel filed for a $7.1 million increase, or 10.5 percent. Xcel does not make money on the gas itself – that’s a pass-through cost. Xcel is asking for an increase in the per monthly charge to get the gas to the customer.

The two input sessions are scheduled the same day – Feb. 2nd. One is at 12 noon, the second is at 5:30 pm. Both will be “virtual-only,” meaning customers can weigh in on line or by telephone.

"This is the first time we've done input sessions completely on-line," said PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak.

Fedorchak called it a great step.

"People can log in from home and make their thoughts known, versus having to go out to a site in the community," Fedorchak said. "Often, it seems like these hearings are in the winterm and it's just not a very appealing thing for people to have to leave their homes and travel in the snow and cold."

Fedorchak said hearing the public’s concerns will help commissioners ask the right questions, when Xcel makes its formal presentation.

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