News from Montana-Dakota Utilities

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas price increase request in North Dakota


    BISMARCK, N.D. – July 21, 2017 – Capital investment in pipeline replacement projects enhancing the safety and integrity of the natural gas system, as well as increased cost to operate and maintain that system, are the main drivers in Montana-Dakota Utilities filing a request with the North Dakota Public Service Commission to increase prices. If approved, the request would increase a residential customer’s bill by an average of about $2.98 a month.

    “Our customers expect safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service, as do we. To meet those expectations, we have invested, and will continue to invest, in our infrastructure, which includes replacing dated pipelines,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “Our talented employees work hard every day to provide the most efficient and cost-effective service to our customers.”

    The company has implemented a proactive pipeline replacement plan that, including investments since the last rate case in 2015 and projected investments through 2018, is 18 percent higher than investments through 2015. The PSC approved in the last case an increase of 2 percent, or $2 a month for the average residential customer.

    The current proposed increase is for $5.9 million over current annual revenues, or a 5.4 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 109,000 natural gas customers in 74 North Dakota communities.

    The proposed increase for each customer group, taking into consideration studies to determine the full cost to serve each customer group, is:

    • Residential 5.9 percent
    • Firm general 5.5 percent

    Increases are not proposed for the other customer groups because they are adequately covering the cost to provide service under current prices.

    The PSC has up to seven months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request. Montana-Dakota also has filed a request for an interim rate increase of 4.2 percent, or $4.6 million over current annual revenues, which, if approved, would be implemented while the PSC reviews the overall request. The interim increase would be $2.44 more per month for the average residential customer.

    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 Montana-Dakota’s website: www.montana-dakota.com.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. signs agreement to purchase power from wind farm expansion


    BISMARCK, N.D. – Jan. 3, 2017 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE: MDU), today announced it signed a 25-year agreement with a subsidiary of ALLETE Clean Energy (ACE) to purchase the power from a wind farm expansion in southwest North Dakota. The agreement also includes an option for Montana-Dakota to buy the project at the close of construction.

    The expansion of Thunder Spirit Wind, located near Hettinger, ND, will boost the combined production at the wind farm to approximately 150 megawatts of renewable energy and will increase Montana-Dakota’s generation portfolio from approximately 20 percent renewables to 25 percent. The original 107.5-megawatt Thunder Spirit Wind project was constructed by ACE and included 43 turbines; it was purchased by Montana-Dakota in December 2015. The expansion includes 13 to 16 turbines, depending on the turbine size selected, and will be constructed by ACE. It is expected to be online in December 2018.

    “Our relationship with ACE on the first phase of Thunder Spirit Wind proved to be a winning formula. We are in need of additional energy to meet our growing demands, and with the easements, interconnection to the grid and permits already in place from the first phase of Thunder Spirit Wind, it makes this a great project for Montana-Dakota,” said company President and CEO Nicole Kivisto.

    If Montana-Dakota buys the project, the capital will be incremental to the Nov. 22 announcement by MDU Resources regarding the utility group’s capital expenditure forecast of $1.24 billion for 2017 through 2021. Construction costs for the project are estimated to be $85 million.

    Forward-Looking Statements
    The information in this release includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements contained in this release, including capital expenditure forecasts, estimated construction costs and statements by the president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities, are expressed in good faith and are believed by the company to have a reasonable basis. Nonetheless, actual results may differ materially from the projected results expressed in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, refer to Item 1A – Risk Factors in MDU Resources’ most recent Form 10-K and Form 10‑Q.

    About Montana-Dakota Utilities
    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 142,700 electric customers and 267,500 natural gas customers in 262 communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Montana-Dakota is a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., which provides essential products and services through its regulated energy delivery and construction materials and services businesses. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as “MDU.” For more information about MDU Resources, visit the company’s website at www.mdu.com. For more information about Montana-Dakota, visit www.montana-dakota.com.

  • Customers Encouraged to Monitor Natural Gas Meter and Furnace Vent Areas


    BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 30, 2016 – With the recent heavy accumulations of snow, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. is encouraging customers to inspect their natural gas meter and furnace vent areas to make sure there is not a buildup of snow and ice. Customers are encouraged to clear the snow and ice away from the meter set and the furnace vent area.

    Also, anyone operating snow removal equipment needs to be aware of objects buried under the snow, which can include natural gas meters and risers.

    Accumulations of snow and ice can cause the regulator and meter to malfunction and result in a hazardous situation. A buried regulator may become clogged, affecting the supply of gas to the appliances. When melting occurs and the snow becomes wet and heavy, it can put pressure on the meter setting and cause strain on the associated piping. In extreme cases, the possibility exists that the piping could break.

    Customers should also inspect the area around the furnace vent to ensure snow and ice is not blocking the vent.

    If you believe damage has occurred around the meter set, please call Montana-Dakota at 1-800-638-3278 so the problem can be repaired.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files electric general rate increase request in North Dakota


    BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 17, 2016
    – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. on Friday filed an electric general rate increase request with the North Dakota Public Service Commission. If approved it would increase residential electric monthly bills by an average of about $9.60.

    The main reason for the increase request is because of increased investment in facilities and the associated depreciation, operation and maintenance expenses and taxes.

    “We have worked hard and continue to work diligently on managing our costs while gaining efficiencies whenever possible, along with selecting low-cost options to meet our customer needs” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities. “However, we have made significant investments in our facilities and in technology to provide our customers with safe and reliable service.”

    The proposed increase is for $13.4 million per year over current rates, or a 6.6 percent increase. The proposed increase would be allocated as follows to each rate class, based on cost-of-service studies:

    Class  % Change 
     Residential  9.4
     Small General  10.9
     Large General  4.0
     Municipal Lighting   1.1
     Municipal Pumping  9.7
     Outdoor Lighting  1.6

    Montana-Dakota serves approximately 100,700 electric customers in 117 North Dakota communities.

    The North Dakota PSC has up to seven months to render a decision on the proposed increase request.

    Montana-Dakota also filed a request with the PSC to implement an interim rate increase to go into effect within 60 days of the general rate filing. The interim increase is subject to refund if the final increase authorized by the PSC is less than the interim.

    Montana-Dakota’s last electric general rate increase was $7.6 million, or 6.9 percent, effective July 22, 2011. That rate increase request was filed April 19, 2010.

    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.

  • BSSE Transmission Line project kicks off construction

    Line will improve reliability, increase capacity, support renewable energy and local businesses

    Webster, South Dakota – September 1, 2016 – Today the 163-mile Big Stone South-Ellendale (BSSE) 345-kilovolt transmission line project kicked off construction during an event in Webster, South Dakota. Approximately 85 people attended, including state regulatory and legislative officials, wind industry and contractor representatives, county and township chairs, and tribal leaders.

    When complete, the line will connect the new Big Stone South Substation near Big Stone City, South Dakota, to the new Ellendale Substation near Ellendale, North Dakota. Project owners, Otter Tail Power Company and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., anticipate the project to cost between $293 million and $370 million. They expect to complete construction late in 2018.

    “This transmission resource is a major supplement to the existing grid in northeastern South Dakota, providing critical reliability improvements through capacity and geographic diversity,” said South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Chris Nelson.

    Tim Rogelstad, president of Otter Tail Power Company, concurred with Nelson and noted that major transmission projects such as Big Stone South to Ellendale will provide this region with access to low-cost generation resources well into the future. Rogelstad also stated that in an era of energy policy uncertainty it’s more important than ever to have access to a variety of resources. “An all-of-the-above generation strategy keeps electricity prices affordable for our customers and ensures energy independence for our nation,” he said.

    The project is one of 16 multi-value projects (MVPs) approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., (MISO) and state regulatory agencies to:

    • Improve reliability of the electric system.
    • Increase system capacity to address growth in demand for electricity.
    • Support public policy by enabling renewable energy to be integrated into the system.
    • Boost regional economies by creating jobs, supporting local businesses, and contributing taxes.

    During the event, Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., said, “We are proud to be a part of this important project that will improve reliability and increase capacity on the electric system. We have a great partnership with Otter Tail Power Company and look forward to the benefits this new power line will bring to the area.”

    JoAnn Thompson, vice president, asset management, Otter Tail Power Company, serves on the project’s management committee. “Having been involved with MISO and the inception of the MVP projects, celebrating our transition from planning to construction is energizing!” she said.

    Project owners estimate construction of the line will require an average of 75 crew members, with a peak of 150 crew members during the height of construction. Thompson noted that local and regional contractors—including Webster-based Webster Scale, Inc., Rapid City-based Brink Constructors, Inc., and Sioux Falls-based Jacobsen Tree Experts—are working on the project. “It’s exciting to see the jobs and growth this line contributes to the regional economies,” she said. According to Thompson, renewable-energy generators already are seeking to interconnect projects with the Big Stone South to Ellendale line, which will further economic development.

    Darrin Lahr, regional customer affairs director for MISO, expounded on several of the project’s regional benefits and explained that MISO’s goal is to provide consumers with reliable energy at the lowest possible cost. “The Big Stone South to Ellendale Transmission Line project is an excellent example of the benefits gained when companies and communities work together. We commend the parties on their hard work to make this project a reality,” he said.

  • Aug. 11 (8/11) a reminder to always call 811 before digging

    BISMARCK, N.D. – August 9, 2016 – With August 11 almost here, Montana-Dakota Utilities hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

    When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. This is a free service.

    Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. After all, calling before you dig is the law.

    “On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Pat Darras, vice president of operations at Montana-Dakota Utilities. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”

    The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Visit www.call811.com for more information about safe digging practices.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files electric increase request in Wyoming

     

    BISMARCK, N.D. – June 13, 2016 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed Friday an electric rate increase request with the Wyoming Public Service Commission. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $9.12.

    “The primary reasons for the increase request are increased expenses associated with an increased investment in facilities and increased operating and maintenance expenses, including increased fuel costs,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “The investment in our Wyoming electric operations has increased by approximately $25 million since the last rate case in 2009. We continue to make investments to ensure safe and reliable service for our customers.”

    The proposed increase is for $3.2 million annually over current rates, or a 13.1 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 17,700 electric customers in six Wyoming communities.

    The proposed increase for each rate class, supported by rate class studies, is:


    • Residential 12.6 percent
    • Small general 12.4 percent
    • Irrigation 15.2 percent
    • Large general 14.7 percent
    • Lighting 17.9 percent

    The last increase in electric rates was 13.1 percent effective May 1, 2010. That case was filed in August 2009 and reflected the addition of the company’s 25-percent share of WyGen III generating station.

    The Wyoming PSC has up to 10 months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request. 

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities a founding partner in EPA’s Methane Challenge Program

    BISMARCK, N.D. – March 30, 2016 – Montana-Dakota Utilities, a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., is one of the founding partners in the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Methane Challenge Program provides a mechanism through which oil and natural gas companies can make and track ambitious commitments to reduce methane emissions. The program officially launched today at the Global Methane Forum in Washington, D.C.

    The Methane Challenge Program provides a platform for partners to showcase their efforts to reduce methane emissions, improve air quality, and capture and monetize natural gas.

    Montana-Dakota and its sister utility companies will focus on excavation damages.

    “Excavation damage to our natural gas pipelines by third parties is a significant cause of our emissions and the main reason we are placing our focus on this area,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “Calling for locates before you dig will be a big part of our continued education and promotion in this area. We believe it’s important to be a founding partner in this voluntary program.”

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities acquires Thunder Spirit Wind from ALLETE Clean Energy

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Jan. 5, 2016 – Montana-Dakota Utilities today announced it has completed the purchase of Thunder Spirit Wind from ALLETE Clean Energy. Montana-Dakota is a division of MDU Resources Group Inc. (NYSE:MDU).

    The 107.5-megawatt wind generation project concluded last week and all 43 turbines are in commercial operation. ALLETE Clean Energy constructed the project near Hettinger, North Dakota. The approximately $220 million wind farm can serve about 35,000 homes.

    Montana-Dakota was able to take advantage of the wind farm’s location, connecting to its transmission system in an area the company already provides electric service, further enhancing the company’s deliverability of power to its customers.

    “It is so rewarding to see a project of this magnitude come together to provide our customers with a low-cost source of power,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “We could not have finished this project in a timely manner without the dedicated work of our employees, ALLETE Clean Energy’s construction management and the construction provided by Wanzek Construction and Nordex. It was a great partnership.”

    Montana-Dakota will have employees on site to manage the site and grounds maintenance; Nordex will have staff on site to operate and maintain the towers.

    “I’m so impressed and grateful for the outstanding cooperation and partnership with MDU,” ALLETE Clean Energy President Eric Norberg said. “Thunder Spirit is a tremendous carbon-free energy resource in an energy-rich state and we are pleased to play a role in MDU’s delivery of renewable energy to its utility customers.”

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities surpasses 50,000 natural gas customers in Black Hills

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Dec. 28, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities has surpassed 50,000 natural gas customers in the Black Hills Region, a milestone that has been 87 years in the making. The Black Hills Region extends from Belle Fourche through Rapid City.

    “A big thank you goes out to our customers for giving us the pleasure of providing them safe and reliable service every day. It’s exciting to be a part of a thriving and growing region,” said Ron Blum, director of Montana-Dakota’s Black Hills Region. “Achieving this milestone also would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our outstanding employees.”

    Montana-Dakota brought natural gas service to the Black Hills in 1928, running a transmission pipeline from Baker, Montana. The first towns to receive service were Rapid City, Sturgis, Whitewood, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish and Belle Fourche. Today, Montana-Dakota serves 18 communities in the Black Hills region.

    The Rapid City Journal proclaimed Oct. 31, 1928, as Gas Day following the successful extension of natural gas to the Black Hills. Customer growth has been steady since the beginning, but the region and the natural gas system experienced some spurts, especially in the 1940s when Ellsworth Air Force Base originated, and the 1950s during minuteman missile site construction. Homestake Gold Mine in Lead was one of the first large commercial customers and many more were added over the years.

    Montana-Dakota faced major challenges, as did the community, with the 1972 flood in Rapid City. Major portions of the gas service were destroyed and had to be rebuilt quickly. As the company reached the 1980s and ‘90s, it went through a period of replacing aged mains and service lines, taking advantage of advanced construction methods and using new materials that keep Montana-Dakota’s system safe and reliable.

    “We’ve marked 87 years of service and have now exceeded 50,000 customers,” Blum said. “We look forward to the next 50,000 customers and serving the Black Hills region with safe and reliable natural gas for many years to come.”

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas increase request in South Dakota

    BISMARCK, N.D. – July 1, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed a natural gas rate increase request with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday, June 30. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $2.20 a month.

    “The primary reasons for this request to increase rates are increased operating costs, along with increased investment in our natural gas facilities,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “We have seen good customer growth and increased usage, which partially offsets the increase request.”

    Montana-Dakota’s total investment in South Dakota natural gas operations has increased by approximately $11.5 million, or about 12 percent, from 2012 to the levels included in this rate case.

    The proposed increase is for approximately $1.53 million annually over current rates, or a 3.1 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 57,600 natural gas customers in 25 South Dakota communities.

    The proposed increase for each rate class, which is based on rate class studies, is:

        • Residential 4.6 percent
        • Firm general 0.8 percent
        • Small interruptible 0.8 percent
        • Large interruptible 3.3 percent

    The South Dakota PUC has up to six months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files electric increase request in South Dakota

    BISMARCK, N.D. – July 1, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed an electric rate increase request with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday, June 30. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $16.90 a month. This is the first request to change electric rates since 1985.

    “There are three main drivers for this request to increase annual revenues," said Nicole Kivisto, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “The reasons are the investment in pollution control projects to comply with federal environmental regulations; additional electric generation to serve the growing needs of our customers; and additional transmission services to meet demand and provide for added reliability.”

    The proposed increase is for $2.7 million annually over current rates, or a 19.2 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 8,600 electric customers in 30 South Dakota communities.

    The requested increase is proposed to be allocated equally to each rate class.

    The investment to serve customers has more than doubled since the last rate case, representing an increase of approximately $55 million. The increase in investment has caused an increase in operating expenses, depreciation and taxes.

    The South Dakota PUC has up to six 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 Montana-Dakota’s website: www.montana-dakota.com.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files electric increase request in Montana

    BISMARCK, N.D. – June 25, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed an electric rate increase request with the Montana Public Service Commission Thursday, June 25. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $14.80 a month.

    “There are three main drivers for this request to increase annual revenues,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “The reasons are the investment in pollution control projects to comply with federal environmental regulations; additional electric generation to serve the growing needs of our customers; and additional transmission services to meet demand and provide for added reliability.”

    The proposed increase is for $11.8 million annually over current rates, or a 21.1 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 25,840 electric customers in 30 Montana communities.

    The requested increase of 21.1 percent is proposed to be allocated equally to each rate class.

    Montana-Dakota’s last electric rate increase was $2.6 million, or 6.23 percent, in 2011. The gross investment in Montana electric operations has increased by $126 million, or approximately 60 percent, since that time.

    The Montana 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 Montana-Dakota’s website: www.montana-dakota.com.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas increase request in North Dakota

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Feb. 9, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed a natural gas rate increase request with the North Dakota Public Service Commission Friday. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $3.50 a month.

    “We have some of the best employees in the business and they 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 Nicole Kivisto, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “The other part is ensuring that our system is safe and reliable, which requires significant investments in our natural gas infrastructure.”

    The main reason for the rate increase request is to recover the cost of the increased investment in natural gas facilities. Montana-Dakota’s total natural gas investment in North Dakota is projected to be $212 million by the end of 2015, a 15 percent increase over 2014.

    The proposed increase is for $4.3 million annually over current rates, or a 3.4 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota serves about 105,000 natural gas customers in 74 North Dakota communities.

    The proposed increase for each rate class, which is based on rate class studies, is:


    • Residential 5.8 percent
    • Firm general 0 percent
    • Air Force delivery 0 percent
    • Small interruptible 6.8 percent
    • Large interruptible 0 percent

    The North Dakota PSC has up to seven months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request. Montana-Dakota has also filed a request for an interim rate increase of 3.4 percent, or $4.3 million over current rates, which, if approved, would be implemented while the PSC reviews the overall request. The interim increase would be $2.40 more per month for the average residential customer.

    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 Montana-Dakota’s website: www.montana-dakota.com.

  • Darras named vice president of operations for Montana-Dakota/Great Plains Natural Gas

    DurrasBISMARCK, N.D. – Jan. 28, 2015 – Pat Darras has been named vice president of operations for Montana-Dakota Utilities and Great Plains Natural Gas, effective Jan. 26. Darras most recently was director of the company’s Dakota Heartland Region, based in Bismarck.


    "We are pleased to have Pat fill this role. He has shown great leadership ability in his previous positions with the company and we look forward to his continued success in this new position," said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota and Great Plains. "His extensive operational experience will be a great fit on the executive team of the utility company."


    Darras replaces Kivisto, who was promoted to her current role on Jan. 9, 2015. Darras joined Montana-Dakota in 2002 and has also held positions of engineer and gas superintendent. He has additional experience in refinery and industrial construction work. Darras has a construction engineering degree from North Dakota State University, master’s degrees in business administration and management from the University of Mary, and is also a graduate of the University of Idaho’s Utility Executive Course.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities to add generation at Lewis and Clark Station site

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Jan. 27, 2015 – Montana-Dakota Utilities today announced that it will install 19 MW of electric generation at its Lewis and Clark Station site in Sidney, Montana. The new generation capacity is needed to meet the growing electric demand in Montana-Dakota’s service territory.


    The generation is expected to be online during the fall of 2015.


    The power will be generated by two large internal combustion engines fueled by natural gas. The unit will be located near Montana-Dakota’s Lewis and Clark coal-fired plant. The generation station will be capable of reaching full power within 10 minutes and will be used as a peaking facility to provide power to customers during peak demand.


    “These units were included as part of our generation resource planning process and were selected due to size and cost,” said Jay Skabo, vice president of electric supply for Montana-Dakota. “Other factors were the emissions profile, efficiency, anticipated maintenance profile and ease of construction.”

  • Kivisto Named President and CEO of MDU Resources Group's Utility Companies

    Nicole KivistoMDU Resources Group, Inc. today announced that Nicole Kivisto has been named president and CEO of the corporation’s utility group, which includes Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Great Plains Natural Gas Co., Cascade Natural Gas Corp. and Intermountain Gas Company. The utility group serves more than 1 million electric and natural gas customers in eight states.

    Kivisto’s new role will be effective Jan. 9. She replaces K. Frank Morehouse, who has resigned.


    “Nicole is an outstanding leader who is widely respected across our utility group’s management team,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. “With her broad financial expertise and success in her operational role, Nicole is ideally suited to lead the utility group’s continuing growth.”


    Kivisto has been vice president of operations for Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Great Plains Natural Gas Co. since January of 2014. Prior to that she was vice president, controller and chief accounting officer for MDU Resources Group. Kivisto joined the company in 1995 and has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including controller.


    Kivisto is a native of Beulah, N.D. She has a degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota-Moorhead and is also a graduate of the Carlson School of Management Minnesota Executive Program and the University of Idaho’s Utility Executive Course. She is a certified public accountant.


    For the complete news release, visit http://www.mdu.com/News/2015/01/08/kivisto-named-president-and-ceo-of-mdu-resources-group-s-utility-companies.


  • Montana-Dakota Utilities signs agreement to purchase North Dakota wind farm

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 24, 2014 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a division of MDU Resources Group (NYSE:MDU) announced today that it has signed an agreement to purchase a North Dakota wind farm to be developed by ALLETE Clean Energy, a subsidiary of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE).

    The wind project, located near Hettinger, N.D., and comprised of 43 turbines producing 107.5 megawatts of electricity, is anticipated to be completed in December 2015. The project’s cost is approximately $200 million and the purchase is subject to regulatory approvals.

    “We are committed to investing capital resources to meet the needs of our customers and our growing legacy business,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources Group. “This project is a positive step in executing that plan and will be a great addition to Montana-Dakota’s generation portfolio. We believe this will be a great partnership with ALLETE.”

    Montana-Dakota originally signed a power purchase agreement with Thunder Spirit Wind in October 2013 to purchase the output of the wind farm. Montana-Dakota determined that owning and operating the wind farm is the best long-term solution to meet customer need for energy. Montana-Dakota partnered with ALLETE Clean Energy (ACE) on an agreement for ACE to acquire the Thunder Spirit Wind project, complete the development and sell the completed project to Montana-Dakota. ALLETE has developed other wind projects in North Dakota.

    “Our electric demand continues to increase and this project is a great opportunity to increase our electric generation to meet that customer demand. Our customer energy requirements are expected to grow at five percent per year for the next five years,” said Frank Morehouse, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “Not only does this project provide needed generation, but it also further diversifies our generation portfolio, boosting our renewable segment to 20 percent.”

    The wind farm location is beneficial in that it allows Montana-Dakota to connect the project to its transmission system in an area the company already provides electric service, further enhancing the company’s deliverability of power to its customers.

    “We’re proud that MDU chose ACE to develop a project that will benefit its customers and diversify the mix of energy sources. Wind energy is an advantageous resource in North Dakota, and ALLETE Clean Energy is anxious to apply our experience to bring the project to fruition,” said ALLETE Clean Energy President Eric Norberg.


    Forward-Looking Statements

    The information in this release includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements contained in this release, including statements by the president and chief executive officer of MDU Resources and president and CEO of Montana-Dakota, are expressed in good faith and are believed by the company to have a reasonable basis. Nonetheless, actual results may differ materially from the projected results expressed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include  receiving the necessary permits and regulatory approvals in a timely manner, the schedule and costs to complete, qualification for tax credits, other risks incidental to the operation of a wind farm; and the effects on operations of extensive environmental laws and regulations. For a discussion of other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, refer to Item 1A – Risk Factors in MDU Resources’ most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

    About MDU Resources

    MDU Resources Group, Inc., a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index, provides value-added natural resource products and related services that are essential to energy and transportation infrastructure, including regulated utilities and pipelines, construction materials and services and exploration and production. For more information about MDU Resources, see the company's website at www.mdu.com or contact the Investor Relations Department at investor@mduresources.com.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas increase request in Wyoming

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 3, 2014 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed a natural gas rate increase request with the Wyoming Public Service Commission Friday. The request represents an overall increase in revenues of 4.13 percent. Montana-Dakota’s last natural gas rate increase was filed in 2002 and became effective in January 2003. That increase was 3.95 percent.

    “We 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,” said Frank Morehouse, president and chief executive officer of Montana-Dakota. “Our investment in Wyoming gas operations has increased by $17.6 million, or approximately 120 percent, since 2002.

    “Aside from our investments, we have worked, and continue to work, extremely hard at watching our operating expenses and looking for ways to be more efficient each day.”

    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 an automated meter reading system, a new customer billing system and a new mobile dispatch system since the last rate increase request.

    The proposed increase is for $788,160 annually over current rates, or a 4.13 percent overall increase. Residential customers’ monthly bills would increase by an average of about $3.24 a month. Montana-Dakota has about 17,900 natural gas customers in 10 Wyoming 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 5.17 percent

    • Firm general 2.45 percent

    • Small interruptible – no change

    • Large interruptible – no change

    The Wyoming PSC has up to 10 months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request.

    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.

  • Montana-Dakota Utilities files natural gas increase request in Montana

    BISMARCK, N.D. – Aug. 11, 2014 – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. filed a natural gas rate increase request with the Montana Public Service Commission Friday. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $3.21 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 Frank Morehouse, 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.”

    The main reason for the rate increase request is to recover the cost of the increased investment in natural gas facilities, which has totaled about $15.8 million since 2011.

    The proposed increase is for $3 million annually over current rates, or a 3.6 percent overall increase. Montana-Dakota has about 80,760 natural gas customers in 36 Montana communities. 

    The proposed increase for each rate class, which is based on rate class studies, is: 


    • Residential 5.4 percent
    • Firm general 0.8 percent
    • Small interruptible 0.8 percent
    • Large interruptible 0.7 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 2.6 percent, or $2.2 million over current rates, which, if approved, would be implemented while the PSC reviews the overall request. The interim increase would be $1.64 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 137,000 electric customers and 258,000 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.

    Montana Natural Gas Direct Testimonies
    Montana Natural Gas Interim Application
    Montana Natural Gas Statement A-O
    Montana Natural Gas Transmittal Letter and Application

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