Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) – which provides retail natural gas and electric service to 384,000 customers in parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming – has filed (Docket No. D2015.6.51) with the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) to raise its general rates in the Big Sky state part of its territory.
MDU is proposing a revenue increase of $11.8 million – or 21.1 percent – to be absorbed by its 25,840 electric customers in 30 Montana communities. The requested raise would be allocated equally to each rate class – increasing the bill of the average residential customer by about $14.80 per month.
“There are three main drivers for this request to increase annual revenues,” said MDU CEO Nicole Kivisto. “The reasons [include our $400 million] investment in pollution control projects [at coal plants in Montana and South Dakota] to comply with federal environmental regulations; additional electric generation to serve the growing needs of our customers; and additional transmission services to meet demand and provide for added reliability.”
The utility had requested an interim rate hike of $11 million to be paid within 30 days of its original application, filed on June 24, but that was rejected by the commission last December. This week, the PSC will hold a hearing leading to a final decision.
MDU’s last rate increase – $2.6 million or 6.23 percent – was approved in 2011. The gross investment in Montana electric operations has increased by $126 million, or about 60 percent since that time, according to the utility.
A final order is due by March 25.