Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas increase request in Montana
BISMARCK, N.D. – Sept. 26, 2012 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed a natural gas rate increase request with the Montana Public Service Commission today. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $3.37 a month.
“We have worked, and continue to work, extremely hard at watching our operating expenses and looking for ways to be more efficient each day. That is one facet of our business,” said Dave Goodin, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “But we also have made significant investments in our natural gas infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable service to our customers, as well as investments in technology to provide better service.”
The main reason for the rate increase request is to recover the cost of the increased investment in natural gas facilities. In addition to the ongoing investment for new customers and replacing existing facilities, the company has invested in a landfill gas production facility, a region operations building and an automated meter reading system since the last rate increase request. Also, a new customer billing system will be completed in 2012.
Montana-Dakota’s last natural gas rate increase, which was less than 1 percent, was filed in 2004 and became effective in January 2005.
The proposed increase is for $3.5 million annually over current rates, or a 6 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota has about 78,910 natural gas customers in 37 Montana communities.
Despite the investments, the average operation and maintenance cost per customer is lower today than in 2004.
The proposed increase for each rate class, which is based on rate class studies, is:
- Residential 7.9 percent
- Firm general 2.8 percent
- Small interruptible 1.4 percent
- Large interruptible 1.4 percent
The Montana PSC has up to nine months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request. Montana-Dakota has also filed a request for an interim rate increase of 3 percent, or $1.7 million over current rates, which, if approved, would be implemented while the PSC reviews the overall request. The interim increase would be $1.30 more per month for the average residential customer.
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. distributes natural gas and generates, transmits and distributes electricity and provides related services in the northern Great Plains. The company serves approximately 130,000 electric customers and 245,000 natural gas customers in 262 communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Montana-Dakota is a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., a multidimensional natural resources enterprise traded on the New York Stock Exchange as “MDU.” For more information about MDU Resources, visit the company’s Web site at www.mdu.com. For more information about Montana-Dakota, visit www.montana-dakota.com.
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