An amended request and reduction in the Renewable Resources Rider
means many customers will see only a small increase in January bills
DULUTH, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) today approved an
interim rate increase of 5.6 percent for Minnesota Power customers as
the first step of its broader review of the company's recent rate
request. Minnesota Power is a utility division of ALLETE Inc. (NYSE:
The increase on customers' bills will be less than initially projected
in November. Before the MPUC hearing, Minnesota Power lowered its
interim rate request to $34.7 million from approximately $49 million to
reflect a projected increase in energy sales to industrial customers. In
addition, the MPUC approved a separate request for a reduction in the
current renewable resources rider, or line item, previously authorized
by the MPUC to pay for investments in new sources of energy.
The increase from interim rates on residential customers on bills in
early 2017 will be $4 per month for the average residential customer.
For small business customers, the increase will be $15 per month for the
average customer. However, many customers may see a much smaller
increase in their bill because the reduction in the renewable resources
line item will significantly offset the interim rate increase.
"We're pleased the MPUC agreed that an interim rate increase is
appropriate, in light of the extensive investments we have made in our
ambitious EnergyForward plan," said David McMillan, executive vice
president of Minnesota Power. "EnergyForward investments are providing
our customers with safe and reliable energy while continuing our
transformation to cleaner sources."
The MPUC's ruling to set interim rates is the first of two separate
decisions in the review of Minnesota Power's full rate request. Comments
will be accepted from interested members of the public and stakeholder
groups in the coming months, along with input from state agencies, and
public hearings are likely this summer or early fall. A final decision
by regulators on the full request will occur in early 2018.
"The combination of an improved outlook for the regional economy and the
MPUC decision on the renewable rider is good news for our customers,"
McMillan said. "Keeping energy prices affordable is important to the
quality of life for residents and businesses in this area of the state."
The majority of the rate request is related to additional EnergyForward
capital investments which include upgrades to transmission and
distribution infrastructure, measures to protect against extreme weather
events and enable the safe integration of renewable resources, and the
continuation of efficiency and environmental improvements at the
company's existing power plants. Other components of the rate request
address lower sales revenues and pension investment costs. MP is also
proposing to provide annual savings to customers by extending to 2050
the capital cost recovery on the Boswell Energy Center. Minnesota
Power's last general rate review was seven years ago.
The interim rate increase will take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Factors
resulting in the company's lower interim rate request may also impact
the company's final rate request. The company will file additional
information with the Commission in February 2017.
To help customers manage and reduce their monthly bills, Minnesota Power
offers conservation programs that provide helpful tools to lower energy
use and obtain rebates for energy efficiency. For customers who find it
difficult to pay bills each month, Minnesota Power partners with
community programs that provide energy assistance. Minnesota Power has
established a special website—www.mnpower.com/2016RateReview--where
customers can get more information or ask questions about the rate
request at AskUs@mnpower.com
Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile
area in Northeastern and Central Minnesota, supporting comfort, security
and quality of life for 145,000 customers, 16 municipalities and some of
the largest industrial customers in the United States. More information
can be found at www.mnpower.com.
The statements contained in this release, and statements that ALLETE
may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical
facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ
materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These
forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors
are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with
the Securities and Exchange Commission.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161215006398/en/
Amy Rutledge, 218-723-7400
Source: ALLETE Inc.
News Provided by Acquire Media