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Commerce Recommends Slashing CenterPoint Energy Rate Increase by $21 million

November 26, 2013

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER) recommended today a $21 million reduction to the $44 million rate increase proposed by CenterPoint Energy for natural gas service in 2014.  CenterPoint provides natural gas service to over 820,000 customers in central and southern Minnesota.  The Commerce Department concluded that the recommended reduction of 48 percent will allow CenterPoint to continue to provide safe, reliable service while making needed improvements to its distribution facilities.  

“On behalf of ratepayers, we carefully watch for unjustified rate increases and found areas in CenterPoint’s rate request that are excessive,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.  “The Commerce Department’s staff thoroughly analyzed this proposal, and while we recognize the importance of infrastructure improvements, there are still portions of expense and revenue projections that need significant adjustments.”

DER recommended reductions due to overstated costs including: rate of return on equity (capital costs), compensation expense, and operation expenses.  In addition, Commerce concluded that CenterPoint’s revenues will be higher, thus diminishing the need to increase rates.

After written testimony, public hearings, and evidentiary hearings are completed, Administrative Law Judge LauraSue Schlatter will present her recommendations to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.  The Commission is expected to decide this matter in June 2014.

Five public hearings will be held in December at the following locations:

  • Monday December 2, Brainerd:  7:00 p.m. Central Lakes Community College, 501 W. College Dr., Room E203
  • Tuesday December 3, Bloomington:  7:00 p.m. Normandale Community College, Classroom P0808, 9700 France Ave. S.
  • Wednesday December 4, Mankato:  7:00 p.m. Mankato Place Mall, Mankato Room, 12 Civic Center Plaza
  • Monday December 9, Brooklyn Center:  1:00 p.m. CEAP – Community Room, 7051 Brooklyn Blvd.
  • Tuesday December 10, Minneapolis:  7:00 p.m. Sabathani Community Center, Auditorium, 310 E. 38th St.

For details and further information, please see the Public Utilities Commission's website.

The Division of Energy Resources is tasked with ensuring that energy service is reliable and reasonably priced while minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Consumers interested in energy efficiency and conservation can visit the Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources website for consumer energy tips and guides.