Montana-Dakota Utilities Files Rate Increase Request

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. has filed an electric-rate increase request with the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC). If approved, it would increase residential electric customers' monthly bill by an average of about $8.60.

The main reasons for the request are to recover the cost of increased investment in electric facilities, loss of wholesale sales margins and recovery of costs associated with all facets of the company's electric generation.

The bulk of the increase is to recover the cost of Montana-Dakota's investment in renewable energy generation. The company expanded its Diamond Willow wind farm by 10.5 MW, constructed 19.5 MW in southwest North Dakota and also built a 5.3 MW heat-recovery generation facility.

Of the request, approximately 47% is for wind generation investments, 18% for other infrastructure investments, 16% from the loss of wholesale sales, 12% for generation-development costs and 7% for other operational expenses.

Montana has a renewable mandate that requires that 10% of electric generation sold in the state come from renewable sources by this year; the mandate increases to 15% by 2015.

The proposed increase is for $5.5 million annually over current rates, or a 13% overall increase. Montana-Dakota has about 24,300 electric customers in 30 Montana communities.

The Montana PSC has up to nine months to render a decision on the proposed increase request.

SOURCE: Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

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