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OES recommends smaller rate increase for Minnesota Power

March 01, 2010

OES recommends smaller rate increase for Minnesota Power

For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, March 31, 2010

(ST. PAUL, MN) The Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security (OES) today recommended that Minnesota Power's proposed rate increase be reduced by 65 percent.  The original amount requested by the utility was $81 million.  OES is recommending to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) a rate increase of $28 million.

The OES's recommendation takes into consideration a number of factors, such as:

Minnesota Power will be able to make necessary improvements to its system under OES's recommended increase.
Minnesota Power's revenues are expected to be higher than first estimated, which diminishes the need to increase rates.
The utility's costs for pension, capital, advertising and other costs could be lower, reducing the need for such a large rate hike.
Administrative Law Judge Kathleen Sheehy will present her recommendations to the PUC after written testimony, public hearings and evidentiary hearings are completed.   The PUC is expected to make a decision on the matter by early November 2010.

Minnesota Power is a division of ALLETE and is headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota.  Minnesota Power serves 141,000 retail customers.