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Hearings set to discuss Otter Tail Power rate increase proposal

Minnesotans in the western part of the state will have a chance to comment this week on rate increases proposed by Otter Tail Power Co. The rate increases are under review by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

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BEMIDJI -- Public hearings will be held by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission this week to allow comments on a rate increase proposal from Otter Tail Power Co.

In November, the company requested approval from the MPUC to increase its rates by about 6.77%, or $14.5 million per year. The rate would add about $7.77 to a typical residential customer's monthly bill.

While the PUC reviews the case, the company was granted an interim rate increase of about 3.23%, or $6.9 million. Should the final rate by the PUC be lower than the interim rate, the company will be provided a refund.

If the requested rate is approved, the company will not go back and charge the customers for the difference.

The company is looking to increase rates to recover costs from energy projects, such as the Merricourt Wind Energy Center in North Dakota. Additionally, Otter Tail has cited deferred depreciation costs for its retiring 1950s era-coal fired Hoot Lake Plant in its request.

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This week the public will have four opportunities over two days to comment. To comment by phone, call (866) 609-6127 and to watch the proceedings by webcast, visit minnesota.webex.com and enter MNPUC! for the password.

The hearings will take place at the following times:

  • At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13. Enter 8960889 if calling in, or enter the event number 187 361 1312 for the webcast.
  • At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13. Enter 4847889 if calling in, or enter the event number 187 775 3715 for the webcast.
  • At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14. Enter 8397865 if calling in, or enter the event number 187 541 2682 for the video.
  • At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14. Enter 6687187 if calling in, or enter event number 187 407 9248 for video.

Residents can also comment by email at consumer.puc@state.mn.us , or by mail, at Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 Seventh Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN, 55101.

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