Minnesota Power customers should expect to see an increase in their electric rates starting the first of the year.
This reflects an “interim” increase of 5.6% approved by the Public Utilities Commission today, the first step in Minnesota Power’s request for a larger “general” rate increase. As we’ve talked about on this blog, Minnesota Power has requested to raise rates on all customers, including an 18% increase for residential customers.
The full rate increase request still needs regulators’ approval, and is subject to a public process that’s likely to take approximately 15 months. CUB will be active at the PUC to make sure any costs put onto customers are reasonable, and we expect the final number will be less than the utility has asked for.
These increases come in addition to another requested 10% increase to subsidize globally competitive industries. This is allowed by a state law for energy-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) customers, and is commonly referred to as the “EITE rate.”
There is some good news, though. Also on January 1, most customers will see a reduced charge that will offset most of the interim rate increase, as Minnesota Power is reducing the “renewable resource” line item on bills.
In short, Minnesota Power customers may expect to see three increases on their bills:
- A relatively small increase on January 1, 2017, reflecting the interim rate increase and the renewable resource charge reduction.
- An increase of as much as 10% due to the EITE rate, which could happen in early 2017.
- An increase when the PUC decides on Minnesota Power’s general rate increase request, possibly early 2018. This could be as much as a double-digit hike.
Please let us know how the rate increases affect you. Your stories help us make the case for residential customers at the PUC. Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12/16/16: This post was updated to include the reduced renewable resource charge.