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.