Xcel Energy’s latest electric rate case is still before the North Dakota Public Service Commission – 11 months after it was filed.
Xcel is asking for a $16.9 million increase. It was granted interim rates in February, which raised a typical Xcel customer’s bill by $7 a month.
That compares with MDU’s latest rate case. MDU is seeking a natural gas rate increase. It filed the case in September, and it was granted an interim increase that would take effect this month. But PSC staff and the company have reached a tentative agreement, and the PSC will take a look at that.
PSC Chairman Brian Kalk says there’s a lot more contentiousness in the Xcel case. And he thinks part of that is some uncertainty about Xcel’s plans.
"It seems there's a shotgun approach on how they're going to do things," said Kalk. "It's hard to herd those cats when they keep pushing off in different directions."
Kalk says for example, Xcel had announced it was planning to build two natural gas fired turbines in the Hankinson area – but he says he’s heard that Xcel may be rethinking that strategy. He says because North Dakota is a relatively small part of Xcel’s footprint, he thinks North Dakota is often neglected.
"We're 4 percent of Xcel's operating system," said Kalk. "The people who work for Xcel in North dakota work really hard, and do the things they need to do. But it seems they get lower priority than other states."
Kalk says there are a number of issues still to be resolved with Xcel before the rate case can be concluded.