Catch the latest release from Northwestern Energy in Huron:
NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) today filed a request to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) to increase electric rates later in 2015.
The company’s request to increase revenues by approximately $26.5 million dollars equates to an increase of about $16.76 dollars per month for a typical residential electric customer or about 56 cents per day. However, the actual impact of the requested rate increase on individual customer bills will vary depending on the customer’s rate class and amount of energy used.
The SDPUC will determine the actual amount of any rate adjustments, which could be greater or less than initially requested and it will determine the date that new rates will go into effect. However, rates are not expected to change earlier than July 1, 2015.
“This increase is largely the result of recent investments to meet federal environmental and infrastructure regulatory mandates as well as the investments that we’ve made to improve our infrastructure to maintain the high-level of reliability that our customers expect and deserve,” said Bob Rowe, CEO. “We’ve managed the business well over the years and have avoided the need to increase rates for 34 years. It’s amazing to think that the last general electric rate increase was in 1980. Now, current rates simply don’t cover the costs associated with these significant investments.” Rowe added that approximately 95-percent of the requested increase is the result of costs associated with federally required and critical infrastructure investments.
The most significant of the large projects are the upgrades of our jointly owned Big Stone and Neal power plants to meet federal regulations that limit pollutants linked to regional haze. Our portion of the cost to upgrade the Neal Unit 4 plant in western Iowa was $23 million and the work was completed last year. Our portion of the cost to upgrade the Big Stone plant is estimated to be in the range of $95-105 million and is due to be completed in 2015. Other partner utilities are either in the process or have recently completed the process to increase rates as a result of these federally-mandated projects.
Because of the Federal Government’s (and as noted earlier, the EPA’s) new regulations, consumers are being forced to foot the bill for these upgrades. We can only hope that the next presidential administration is Republican, and they declare a cease fire in the war on energy production in this nation.