Minnesota Power Customers Could see Rate Hike

Minnesota Power customers could see their rates go up if the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves a rate plan filed Friday in an effort to help the struggling taconite and paper industries. 

Lawmakers authorized Minnesota Power to submit discounted rate plans for it’s large industrial customers during the 2015 Legislative Session. 

The law means that customers will see an increase of $11.45, or 14.5 percent added to their bill. 

Most businesses will see a flat charge of 11.45 a month, while customers in the energy-intensive and industrial businesses will see their bills drop by at least 5 percent. 

Minnesota Power is submitting letters for the new rate plan for ten customers. 

The customers are Verso Paper in Duluth, Sappi Mill in Cloquet, Boise Paper in International Falls, Blandin Paper in Grand Rapids, Mesabi Nugget in Hoyt Lakes, U.S. Steel, which operates Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron and Keetac in Keewatin, United Taconite in Forbes and Hibbing Taconite, ArcelorMittal whichi operates the Minorca Mine near Virginia, and Mining Resources near Chisholm. 

Minnesota Power says by changing the rates, it will help keep these companies stay viable and retain jobs in Minnesota.  

“We recognize no one wants to see their bill increase,” said Dave McMillan, Executive Vice President of Minnesota Power,”However, our plan will not only help the region’s largest industries compete and remain in the economy, it will bring rates closer in line to the actual cost of providing power to all customer groups.  Also, by applying the rate adjustment based on energy usage, residential customers can potentially offset the increase with help from a variety of energy efficiency and conservation tools offered by Minnesota Power.”

If the plan is approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, rate changes would go in to effect sometime in 2016. 

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