Sounding off about utility rate hikes

Mad about Minnesota Power’s requested rate increase?

Well, here’s your chance to speak your mind… to an administrative law judge who will actually listen to you.

Public hearings — necessary before a decision is reached on a rate request — have been scheduled for April 13 in Eveleth and April 14 in Duluth, among the areas served by the Duluth-based electric utility.

Minnesota Power filed the request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul in November. It’s seeking an $81 million increase which works out to be a sizable 18.9 increase for customers.

For the average customer using 755 kilowatt hours and a monthly $65 bill, that would be a $13 increase. For a small business using 2,600 kilowatt hours per month, that would be a about $44 more.

But it’s the price we pay for cleaner, greener energy, company officials say. 

They say the increase is needed to pay for the company’s state-mandated switch to more renewable energy sources and to pay for improvements already made. That includes the transmission line the company acquired to bring wind-generated electricity to the region from North Dakota. It includes upgrades made to Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset which nearly eliminated pollutants entirely.

However, if it seems Minnesota Power just raised their rates, you’d be right.

This latest request followed a 4.1 percent rate increase in 2008, the company’s first rate hike in 14 years. And while the latest request is pending, Minnesota Power was allowed to raise rates 11 percent beginning Jan. 1.

A decision on the permanent 18.9 percent rate hike request will come in November and go into effect in 2011.

Here’s the complete public hearings schedule:
Eveleth: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 13, Eveleth Range Reecreation and Civic Center, 901 Hat Trick Ave.
Duluth: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 14, The Inn on Lake Superior, 350 Canal Park Drive.
Grand Rapids: 7 p.m. April 21, Itasca Community College, 1851 E. Highway 169
Little Falls: 7 p.m., April 22, Morrison County Government Center, 213 First Ave. S.E.



13 thoughts on “Sounding off about utility rate hikes

  1. government mandated greener energy? for what reason? it has already been shown that global warming is a scam by these greenies and the deviants freaks and liberals party. these increase in rates are nothing more than a tax increase due to government interference and the scam put forth by the al gore crowd. it is time to tqke back control of these lying governments who instill fear to the ignorant. power to the people.

  2. if you want cleaner energy, you have to pay for it plain and simple. Don’t blame the company blame the legislature- thats who caused this.

  3. If the rate increase actually helped reduce pollution that would be one thing, but the Taconite Harbor power plant consistently emits an enormous brown hazy cloud of coal smoke that is visible for many miles. Take some of that proposed rate increase and install better scrubbers on the Tac Harbor facility.

    On another note, ignore the ignorant, science-denying ramblings of the far right fringe.

  4. Tac Harbor already has cutting edge pollution control equipment installed. Please educate yourself on the facts before you make your judgements.

  5. What? We were warned repeatedly by the common sense right that this would happen. Backed by the far left fringe/liberals, the greenie candidates were elected anyway. This is only the beginning. I hope everyone remembers how thin their wallets are getting the next election.

  6. oberstar voted for cap and trade. oberstar voted no on drilling in alaska. oberstar voted to support obama care. he also stated that people should be taxed by how many miles they drive their vehicles. it never ends for that out of touch iron ranger. he needs to go. do not let his re election ads fool you. he is bad for the region and he is bad for america.

  7. I hope everyone remembers the tactics right-wing extremists use to try to intimidate and silence those they don’t agree with (the incessant trolling, the personal attacks and insults (they can’t refute the ideas because they have Online Tourette Syndrome and blame everything on the DFL ) and votes accordingly. These cretins want everything handed to them on a silver platter, but don’t want to pay for it. They have about as much common sense as they do intelligence and integrity — which is to say. . . not much.

  8. Personally I think even with the rate increase our electric bill is about the “best value” bill we pay every month. If you think about it, there isn’t much you can do at home without using electricity. Everything from your bedside alarm clock, lights that allow us to see our way around the house after dark as well as running those big screen TV’s that entertains us for more hours a day than it should (but that’s another subject). Oh…how useful would your furnace (that is necessary for 9 or more months a year around here) be if you didn’t have electricity to run it ? Try that out sometime and let me know how well that works out for you.

    Basically electricity is involved in one way or another in almost everything we do….for what, $65.00 ($78.00 after the increase) a month on average. Find something else to complain about like the cost of health insurace. I could pay my electric bill for 8 months for the same amount as I pay for health insurance for 1 month.

  9. I had to laugh at another commenter’s posting about the “Common Sense Right” and how the “Greenies” are responsible for utility rate hikes. The “Common sense righties” in this town, at least those who post comments on that right-wing blog of theirs, advocate that their supporters do not shop for anything in Duluth, but go to Hermantown ot Superior to do all their shopping, so the city of Duluth will lose out on the sales tax from the purchases.

    Now, I know such people probably don’t have a lot of money or clout, b/c they shop for clothes at Walmart and for food at McDonalds. They’re probably not patronizing local businesses and/or buying high-end items. But hello, did these “common sense righties” ever consider that they are depriving *Duluth retailers* of sales by shopping elsewhere?

    It’s got to be the dumbest call to action I’ve ever heard of, and those calling for a boycott of Duluth retailers so as to deprive the city of sales tax proceeds are total morons. I would hope citizens of Duluth will never forget who supports their jobs, their businesses, and their livelihoods, – and who does not — and vote accordingly.

    As for those right wingers who are anti-Duluth, anti-local businesses in Duluth, and want Duluth businesses to fail, thus depriving people of their livelihoods — I would hope they’d realize their foolishness. But I doubt it.

  10. Be sure and thank the next over-the-top enviro Democrat you trip over in this region, when you pay your higher utility bill.

  11. That’s real funny, Gladys/Claire, since you yourself said, you’re boycotting Walmart.

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