Some big electrical power users in western North Dakota – that are customers of MDU – will see their power bills jump.
Several years ago, those big users signed contracts with the utility for a fixed price on power. But recently, MDU filed for an electric rate increase, and that reopened discussions with those users.
Under the order from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the Marathon oil refinery north of Mandan will see its power rate go up 22 percent, meaning it will pay another $965,000 per year. Also, Sabin Metals West in Williston will be paying another $323,000 per year – a 23 percent increase.
"This is good," said PSC chairman Brian Kroshus. "It puts the rates more in line with what the service actually costs."
Kroshus said it insures the rates the utility is charging to every customer class are fair.
Commissioner Julie Fedorchak supported the orders. But Fedorchak said says power costs are a big factor for companies like these who want to locate here…or stay here.
"It wasn't a slam dunk that North Dakota had the lowest power rates," Fedorchak said. "This is something we need to keep a close eye on. We want to make sure we don't lose that advantage."
The PSC will be looking at two more agreements – one is for General Colloid – a Leonardite company in western North Dakota – and the other concerns the State Capitol in Bismarck.