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Minnesota Commerce Department challenges proposed rate increase by Great Plains Natural Gas

2/24/2016 8:37:27 AM

Public hearings scheduled for March 9 in Marshall and Fergus Falls

SAINT PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Commerce is recommending an 84 percent reduction in a $1.58 million rate increase proposed by Great Plains Natural Gas for its customers in 2016.

Great Plains, an investor-owned utility, is a division of MDU Resources Group and delivers natural gas service to over 22,000 customers in 18 communities in western Minnesota and one community in North Dakota.  

A Commerce Department analysis of the utility’s proposal concluded that cutting the rate increase by $1.33 million would still fully allow Great Plains to provide safe, reliable service.  

The department found that Great Plans overstated its costs, including rate of return on equity (capital costs) and executive compensation expenses.  It also expects that the utility’s revenues will be higher, offsetting the need to increase rates for customers.

After written testimony, public hearings and evidentiary hearings are completed, Administrative Law Judge Barbara J. Case will present her recommendations to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Two public hearings on the rate increase proposal will be held on March 9 at the following locations:

  • Marshall:  Wednesday, March 9, 11:30 a.m., Library Community Room, Marshall-Lyon County Library, 201 C St., Marshall 
  • Fergus Falls: Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 p.m., City Council Chambers (West Doors), Fergus Falls City Hall, 112 W Washington Ave, Fergus Falls 

Minnesota communities served by Great Plans include Belview, Boyd, Breckenridge, Clarkfield, Crookston, Danube, Dawson, Echo, Fergus Falls, Granite Falls, Marshall, Montevideo, Pelican Rapids, Redwood Falls, Renville, Sacred Heart, Vergas and Wood Lake.  The utility also serves Wahpeton in North Dakota.

For details and to view all of the documents filed in this utility rate proceeding, go to the eDockets website. Select 15 as the year and type 879 as the number.

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