Published December 6, 2021
Last week, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved interim rate increases for both CenterPoint Energy and Minnesota Power. Customers of each utility will see the interim charge on their bills beginning in January. In both decisions, energy affordability for residential customers was at the front of the PUC’s consideration.
CenterPoint gas rates will increase by 3.9% or about $2.40 per month for the average household. CenterPoint had asked for a 5.1% interim increase, but the PUC reduced this request, finding that customers are facing “exigent circumstances” in the current economy.
As part of the rate mitigation, customer charges to repay the cost of the February gas price spike will now be stretched over 63 months, rather than 27 months as previously set. (The Commission will consider if Xcel, Minnesota Energy Resources, and Greater Minnesota Gas should similarly extend payment schedules for their customers, too.)
Minnesota Power residential customers will see an interim rate increase of 7.11% beginning in January. Other classes of customers will receive interim hikes of 14.23%. The utility had initially requested this level for residential customers, too, but agreed to reduce it after working with CUB and the Energy CENTS Coalition.
Under state law, utilities are permitted to charge interim rates while their general rate increase requests are under consideration. See our previous blogs for more details on CenterPoint’s and Minnesota Power’s full requests. The Star Tribune also has helpful coverage of yesterday’s PUC decision.
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Meanwhile, Centerpoint reports another amazingly profitable quarter and raises earnings guidance for the third time this year, while meeting or beating concensus expectations for the sixth time in a row. One has to wonder whose interests the PUC is looking out for – it doesn’t appear to be the Minnesota ratepayer. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211104005311/en/CenterPoint-Energy-Reports-Strong-Q3-2021-Earnings-Results
This February I paid $212.85 for 198 ccf
Last February I paid $167.53 for 199 ccf
This was a 27% raise.!
Martin: I wish I could say that’s the biggest increase we’ve seen. In addition to the “interim rate” increase that’s applied to the base cost of gas (3.9%), the actual cost of the gas that’s supplying you is a separate line item on bills. Natural gas prices (and fuel prices in general) are way up, so that is the biggest factor for most people. The line item to pay for the February 2021 price spike is additional, too. These are really adding up.