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electric rates

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.

MDU and Otter Tail customers will see benefits from the lower taxes those utilities are now paying, due to federal tax cuts.

The corporate tax rate was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent. And the investor-owned utilities are giving some or all of those savings back to customers in terms of one-time bill credits or lower utility rates.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Otter Tail Power Company wants the authority to give new or expanding industrial customers a break on their electric rates, to spur economic development.

Otter Tail has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission for the right to offer up to a five year discount for a new customer using at least 500 kilowatt hours of electricity, and for expanding customers who would be using at least 1500 kilowatt hours

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said he likes the concept.

Otter Tail Power granted an interim rate increase

Dec 21, 2017

North Dakota customers of Otter Tail Power Company will see their monthly electric bills rise in January.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission granted Otter Tail an interim rate increase, while it considers a permanent rate hike. Otter Tail filed for a $13.1 million dollar increase, which is 8.7 percent.  That would mean an average residential customer would pay another $11.50 a month. The interim increase means a customer’s bill would go up $8.86 a month.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission hasn’t yet had a chance to look at Otter Tail Power Company’s proposed electric rate increase.

It would be its first increase in 10 years. And the paperwork was filed this week.

"They're looking for $13.1 million," Commissioner Brian Kroshus said. "That would be an 8.7% increase. It's definitely a sizable request."

The utility said it means an average residential customer would see their monthly bills go up by $11.50. For business customers, the increase would be about $22 a month.

MDU granted interim electric rate increase

Dec 1, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MDU has been granted an interim electric rate increase -- prior to its pending rate case before the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

Under state law, a utility has the right to interim rates.

MDU has filed for an overall 9.4% increase, which would raise an average customer’s power bill by $9.58 a month, based on 980 kilowatt-hours per month. The utility also asked for a 6.5 percent interim increase. But Commissioner Brian Kalk saids it was refigured to grant a 5.8% interim increase.

"It's approximately $6 per month for the average customer," Kalk said.

MDU electric customers will see an extra charge on their bills.

The Public Service Commission has approved a change to MDU’s Generation and Resource Recovery Rider. The change will help pay for the 88 megawatt natural gas turbine at the Heskett power station north of Mandan, as well as two internal combustion engines at the Lewis and Clark generating station in the Oil Patch.

"The revenue MDU needs is about $9.6 million," said Commissioner Brian Kalk. "There's an increase of $1.94 for the average MDU customer per month."

The Public Service Commission has reached what it’s calling a comprehensive settlement with Xcel Energy over a number of issues.

And the PSC says the bottom line is: Customers will see a refund on their monthly bills, and Xcel will freeze its electric rates until 2017.

Otter Tail Power Company is asking the North Dakota Public Service Commission for its OK to add a renewable energy charge to its monthly electric bills.

The proposal would add $1.08 to a customer using 1000 kilowatts. Otter Tail says this is to cover the costs of electricity generated by the Langdon, Ashtabula and Luverne wind farms. 

Commissioner Brian Kalk says he’s concerned about this – because normally, the PSC grants those riders because new generation is being added.

MDU electric customers to get a bill credit

May 27, 2015

MDU electric customers will see a credit on their bills in June and July.

"In 2014, MDU had a projected earning, and they exceeded that project earning," said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk. "Anything that exceeds that projected earning, they have to go back and split half of it withy their customers."

Kalk says that means customers will see an average $2.14 of credit on each of the bills.