Minnesota Power plans to explain itself

Say, Minnesota Power, what’s with all the rate hikes?

Answers to that question and more will come at a Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce FORVM next week. The Duluth-based utility will give their view on why rates or increasing, where you can expect them to stabilize and how your business can conserve energy.

Minnesota Power’s Pat Mullen and Margaret Hodnik will be the guests at 8 a.m. March 2 at the Playground Theatre in the Tech Village in downtown Duluth.

I wonder if Minnesota Secretary of State Lori Swanson, or others that oppose the rate hikes, will offer retorts?

According the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, "Minnesota Power has had some of the lowest cost power rates in the country. Recently, however, the company has raised its rates and is seeking another increase. Some have criticized Minnesota Power saying the rates are not justified. Others simply wonder why rates are increasing."

Allete, the parent to Minnesota Power, saw net income drop $21 million from 2008 to 2009, but it still posted a $61 million net income last year, according to its annual earnings report.

“The financial picture for Allete in 2009 was negatively impacted by the economic downturn and by regulatory outcomes that were less than favorable to us,” Don Shippar, Allete’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release about 10 days ago.

In an April 2009 rate case before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Minnesota Power got half of what it requested, said a spokeswoman, and in December, it got two-thirds of its request.

The December judgement meant residential customers will see their electricity bills increase an average of $7 a month this year.

4 thoughts on “Minnesota Power plans to explain itself

  1. My confusion is with my billing. Why are they charging me a “Fuel purchased” fee? They state that when usage is high, they can’t keep up thus they need to purchase elswhere and resell…okay…I understand…but in their recent earnings report it was stated the revenue was way down because of lack of usage, mainly commercial/industrial. So which is it? High usage or low of usage? It can’t be both!!!!

  2. I could understand the increase if the company was losing money but they are not. They have to look at the overall picture and this economy and the two don’t add up. Another fee was also imposed to each home and I don’t feel it was fair. I look at what the executives take home in bonuses each year and if they cut half of that would make up a big difference and they wouldn’t not have to increase rates.

  3. From my viewpoint, the upcharges are a result of the “green movement” and in Minnesota, Pawlenty and his “greenie weinies” are responsible with their 25% by 2025 mandate. Next you have the market anxiety over “Cap & Trade” which will have no positive effect on the environment, only cost the customers of energy (and subsequently everything we buy) to sky-rocket. And then you have the potential realization of “Cap & Trade”. It will most likely double the costs of everything once fully up and operational.

    If you don’t like MP&L’s rates, then contact Congressman Oberstar, Senators Klobuchar and Franken to oppose this bill in Congress. If you don’t, don’t complain about increased costs across the board. The choice is yours.

  4. Jim, Your view is tainted. The only reason MP’s rates are getting jacked up is to make the share holders happy. If we quit worrying about those jack@@@es rates would be right where they should be. Fire the CEO and give the guys who do the work a raise. I dont see that idiot out fixing the lines in the rain and snow.

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