The North Dakota Public Service Commission wants to be able to take a look at the “integrated resource plans” filed by investor owned utilities.
Those outline what plans they have for their mix of power generation.
The utilities submit their plans to the PSC, but the Commission has never had the authority to charge the utilities a fee for a more thorough look.
Commission chairman Julie Fedorchak said in the past, the Commission’s review was more cursory. She said charging the utility a fee will allow the PSC to hire outside consultants. That fee would be capped at $250,000.
Fedorchak said she doesn’t envision this being done on every resource plan.
"But for those which we feel will have a pretty significant impact, we want the resources to really weigh in, in advance, when the companies are looking 5-10 years ahead," Fedorchak said. "We can tell them, 'This is what's important to North Dakota -- this is how we feel about your plans,' and really put our signature on that."
Commissioner Brain Kroshus said it would be done to benefit the consumer. He said things are changing rapidly in that industry.
"Ultimately, what's the value proposition to the end user?" Kroshus said. "Particularly to low income households. Can it serve as a tool to keep rates down? That has to be the goal."
A hearing on this measure is scheduled Thursday afternoon.