Montana-Dakota Utilities rate cases
Montana-Dakota Utilities is a regulated utility under the jurisdiction of regulatory commissions in the states it serves. The rates customers pay are approved by each state’s regulatory commission. When the costs of providing safe and reliable electric and natural gas service exceed what customers are paying in rates, Montana-Dakota files a rate increase request with the applicable state regulatory commission.
Requested increases are the result of additional costs necessary to maintain a safe and reliable system; upgrade aging infrastructure and technology; meet growing demand; and compliance with state and federal regulatory requirements, such as environmental mandates.
The company does not have authority to change rates without approval by a state regulatory commission. Click on your state below to review information about recently approved or pending rate case filings.
Montana-Dakota Utilities on June 22, 2020, filed with the Montana Public Service Commission a natural gas price increase request of approximately $8.56 million in annual revenues, or a 13.4% overall increase. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $8.24 per month.
While the overall increase request is 13.4%, the increase for residential customers would be 19.81%. The residential increase is higher than other customer groups in order to bring residential customers closer to paying the cost to provide them service. Currently the other customer groups subsidize the residential customers.
We understand that, considering Covid-19 and the hardships it has created, customers may question the timing of our request. The company invested $36 million prior to the onset of the virus. The investments were mainly related to ensuring the safety and reliability of our system, and recovering that investment is important for ensuring the financial strength of the company. The filing is just the start of a very long regulatory process. The PSC has 10 months to review the filing.
The company also requested an interim price increase of $4.9 million over current annual revenues, or 8.2%. On average, a residential customer would pay $3.29 more per month. If approved and to minimize the impact to customers, Montana-Dakota proposes to delay implementation of interim rates until Feb. 1, 2021, to largely avoid an increase during the winter heating season. Interim rates allow the company to collect new revenues while the overall request is pending before the commission; revenues collected are subject to refund if the PSC approves a lower amount than the interim price increase.
Final prices, upon commission approval, would not be implemented until late March/early April 2021.
If the request is approved, natural gas will continue to be a low-cost fuel for Montana customers. The total price per dekatherm was between $6.50 and $8 in 2010 and 2011. The price 10 years later in June 2020 is about $6 a dekatherm. The total price includes distribution and pipeline costs as well as the cost of natural gas.
Click below for the full filing made with the PSC:
North Dakota has no rate cases at this time.
South Dakota has no rate cases at this time.
Montana-Dakota Utilities files a natural gas price increase request with Wyoming PSC
UPDATE: The Wyoming Public Service Commission approved a price increase, effective March 1, 2020, for natural gas customers. The PSC approved an annual increase of approximately $828,000 over current prices, or 5.48% overall.
The average increase is 6.58% for a residential customer, and 4.32% for a firm general service customer. Small interruptible customers will see a decrease of 1.03% and large interruptible customers a decrease of 3.06%.
An average residential customer using 88 dekatherms per year will see an average increase of $3.09 per month.
See the bill insert for more information.
BISMARCK, ND – May 24, 2019 – Montana-Dakota Utilities announced today that it filed a natural gas price increase request with the Wyoming Public Service Commission.
“Making a request to increase prices is something we do not take lightly; we do our best to balance the cost to customers with the amount of investments we make to our system to ensure safe and reliable natural gas service,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “The main reason we are asking for a price increase is because of increased operating costs since our last increase request five years ago.”
The proposed increase is for $1 million annually over current prices, or a 7% overall increase. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ bill by an average of about $4 a month.
The increased operating costs include investments in the natural gas system and increased operation and maintenance costs. The company has invested $6.3 million since its last price increase, which is a 20% increase in total investments in its natural gas system. The investments were necessary to provide safe and reliable service to the company’s 19,000 natural gas customers in nine Wyoming communities.
The Wyoming PSC has up to 10 months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request.
Montana-Dakota encourages customers to use energy wisely. Conservation tips, information on energy assistance and information on the company’s balanced billing program can be found on this website.
Click below for the full filing made with the PSC: