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MDU electric customers will see a small reduction in their monthly bills

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MDU electric customers will see a small reduction in their monthly bills, beginning in February.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the new “renewable rider.” It includes cost of power from three wind farms – two in southwestern North Dakota, and one in Montana.

Commissioner Randy Christmann said it also includes the installation of a new lighting system at the North Dakota wind farms, and the repowering of the Montana wind farm. That repowering will bring with it production tax credits, and that helps to lower the rider costs.

"The monthly billing impact, with this update, for the average residential customer, will be a decrease of $1.20 per month," Christmann said.

MDU is planning to use existing turbine blades for its repowering of the Montana wind farm.

"The blades will be taken down, laid on the ground, and re-coated," said PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak. "It certainly saves the landfill from all these big fiberglass blades, and it makes a more affordable option."

Fedorchak said that aspect of the project is new to her.

"I'm excited to see how it works," Fedorchak said.

The new lighting system at the Thunder Spirit wind facility will be installed by October. The PSC had granted Thunder Spirit a waiver, when it looked like an alternative for the “Aircraft Detection Lighting System” would be possible. That system – called “LIDS,” for “Lighting Intensity Dimming System” has not yet been okayed, so Thunder Spirit will install the “ADLS” system.

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