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Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Orders $200 Million in Refunds to Customers due to Lower Tax Rates of the 2017 Federal Tax Act

8/9/2018 8:21:51 AM

St. Paul, Minnesota — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) ordered Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities to return approximately $200 million in annual benefits reflecting lower corporate tax rates resulting from the federal 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

This $200 million in annual benefits includes the decisions made today in this current proceeding relating to accounting and taxes; the recent decisions made for CenterPoint Energy (approximately $21.3 million) and Minnesota Power (approximately $18.7 million) in their general rate cases; and a pending decision regarding Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation (currently estimated to be approximately $5.2 million) in its general rate case, which is scheduled to be taken up by the Commission in November of this year.

With respect to each regulated utility, the Commission acted to ensure that each utility’s rates reflect the new, lower federal income tax rates in the cost of providing service.

In addition, the Commission directed that $2 million of the approximately $130 million in annual tax benefits for Xcel Energy be used to increase funding for the POWER On program. This is a program to assist low-income customers in paying for their electricity service.

The federal 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (Pub L. 115-97) was enacted on December 22, 2017. Among many other provisions, the Act significantly lowered the federal corporate tax rate and impacted the build-up and crediting of accumulated deferred income tax liability.

The Commission opened a proceeding on this matter a week later and, over the next several months, received several rounds of comments and information from the utilities, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General and other interested parties.

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