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Otter Tail Power proposing a 'rider' on monthly bills for 'smart meters'

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Otter Tail Power Company customers will likely see their monthly bills go up – as the utility implements “smart meters.”

Those are meters that provide constant information on electric use to the companies, thereby eliminating the need for a meter-reader.

"The proposed rate would be charged monthly on a per-meter basis," said North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart. "It would be $1.71 for a residential meter, to $71.76 for a large, general service transmission meter."

Otter Tail calls the rider the “Advanced Grid Infrastructure Cost Recovery Rider.”

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has opened an opportunity for a hearing on it. And Commissioner Randy Christmann said he would like to have at least an informal hearing on it.

"I don't like the name of it," Christmann said. "To me, it's misleading. People are starting to understand the grid and the regional transmission organizations."

Christmann said calling it a "grid rider" will lead people to think it's something the companies have to do, without it being their decision.

"It is their decision," Christmann said.

The charge would be in effect for the monthly bills in 2023.

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