Minnesota Power: Minnesota regulators approve request to reduce interim rates in light of COVID-19

The company noted that the commission is accepting public comments on the proposed resolution of Minnesota Power’s rate review through 4:30 p.m., May 11, with a hearing expected in early June

ALLETE’s Minnesota Power on April 30 said that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has unanimously approved the company’s proposal to reduce the interim rate customers are paying as part of its November 2019 rate review, with the current commission-approved interim increase of 5.8% reduced to 4.1%, effective May 1.

Amy Rutledge, manager – corporate communications, Minnesota Power/ALLETE, on May 4 told TransmissionHub that the commission’s written order has not been issued yet.

The rate approved on April 30 is lower than the 10.59% increase that the company requested last November, when Minnesota Power filed its initial rate review to cover rising operating expenses, expiring contracts, and regulatory costs, the company said.

Minnesota Power said that the commission is expected to decide in early June on other components of the company’s proposed resolution of its November 2019 rate review, including:

  • 
Limiting the request to recovering only the lost income from a large, wholesale market contract that expires April 30
  • A refund of interim rates for all customers of about $12m
  • Reclassifying wholesale margin credits as part of the separate Resource Adjustment line item on bills, rather than as part of base rates, similar to what other utilities in the state do. Customers would be billed or credited monthly based on actual power sales, instead of an amount estimated during the most recent rate decision
  • Delaying any future rate proposal until at least March 1, 2021

Minnesota Power said that it requested the lower rate on April 23 as part of its proposed broader resolution to settle its rate case, which was in response to the financial challenges the COVID-19 pandemic is causing for customers and communities.

The company noted that the commission is accepting public comments on the proposed resolution of Minnesota Power’s rate review through 4:30 p.m., May 11, with a hearing expected in early June.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2846 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.