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Great Plains Natural Gas Co. rate cases

Great Plains Natural Gas (GPNG) Co. is a regulated utility under the jurisdiction of regulatory commissions in the states it serves. The rates customers pay are approved by each state’s regulatory commission. When the costs of providing safe and reliable natural gas service exceed what customers are paying in rates, GPNG files a rate increase request with the applicable state regulatory commission.

Requested increases are the result of additional costs necessary to maintain a safe and reliable system; upgrade aging infrastructure and technology; meet growing demand; and compliance with state and federal regulatory requirements, such as environmental mandates.

The company does not have authority to change rates without approval by a state regulatory commission. Click on your state below to review information about recently approved or pending rate case filings.

UPDATE: The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on February 25 issued the final order approving a natural gas price increase of $2.64 million over current annual revenues for Great Plains Natural Gas. New prices are effective April 1.

UPDATE: Two public hearings are scheduled for the Great Plains Natural Gas price increase request. Click this notice for information on times/date/locations of the meetings.

UPDATE: On January 1, 2020, Great Plains implemented an interim rate increase.  The net impact of the interim rate increase is approximately 11% over current rates, or $2.6 million annually applicable to all customers in Minnesota except those served under a flexible contract rate. The actual interim increase is an increase of $3.6 million offset by a $790,153 reduction in the Gas Utility Infrastructure Cost (GUIC) Adjustment rates effective January 1, 2020. The GUIC revenue requirement was rolled into interim rates.

  • Interim Rate Increase – Using the Company’s current rate structure, an interim rate of 34.293% is now applicable to the amounts billed under the Basic Service charge and Distribution Charge. The amount billed will be shown as a separate line item on customers’ bills and labeled “Interim Increase (total billed under Basic Service Charge and Distribution Charge) x 34.293% = $xx.xx.  A typical residential customer using 81 dk annually will see an average increase of approximately $4.72 per month.
  • Gas Utility Infrastructure Cost Adjustment – Gas Utility Infrastructure Cost Adjustment rates per dk will be set to $0.00 effective with the implementation of interim rates.

The interim rates will remain in effect until final rates are implemented following a Commission decision in the rate case which is expected in Summer 2020. A bill insert regarding the interim increase was included with customers’ bill starting January 2.

Great Plains Natural Gas has filed a natural gas price increase request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. If approved, it would increase a residential customer’s monthly bill by an average of about $7 a month.

The rate increase is driven primarily by the need to recover investments made in infrastructure necessary to safely and reliably serve customers. The company  has worked hard to keep costs as low as possible, but has made significant and needed investments in our facilities and need to recover those costs, as well as the associated increase in depreciation, taxes, and operation and maintenance expenses.

The proposed increase is for $2.8 million annually over current prices, or a 12% overall increase. Great Plains serves about 21,400 customers in 18 western Minnesota communities.

The investment by Great Plains Natural Gas in its Minnesota operations has increased by $20 million, or approximately 42%, from 2016 to the 2020 projected levels included in this request.

The proposed increase for each customer group, which is based on studies that calculate the cost to serve each customer group, is:

  • Residential 15.7%
  • Firm general 12.5%
  • Grain drying 12.2%
  • Small interruptible 3.3%
  • Large interruptible 3.7%

The company’s last natural gas price increase, which was filed in September 2015, was an overall 5.2% increase, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The Minnesota PUC has up to 10 months to issue a decision on the proposed increase request. Great Plains also filed a request for an interim price increase of 11%, or $2.6 million over current prices, which, if approved, would be implemented while the PUC reviews the overall request. The interim increase would be $5 per month for the average residential customer. The revenues collected on an interim basis are subject to refund depending on the PUC’s final decision.

Great Plains 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 the Great Plains Natural Gas website:

Montana-Dakota Utilities on Aug. 26, 2020, filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission a natural gas price increase request of approximately $8.97 million in annual revenues. If approved, it would increase residential customers’ monthly bill by an average of about $6.26 per month.

We understand that, considering Covid-19 and the hardships it has created, customers may question the timing of our request. Included in this request is an infrastructure investment of nearly $53 million since 2018. A significant portion of that investment is related to system safety and reliability; recovering that investment is important for ensuring the financial strength of the company. The filing is just the start of a very long regulatory process. The PSC has seven months to review the filing.

Final prices, upon commission approval, would not be implemented until spring 2021.

The company also requested an interim price increase of $6.89 million over current annual revenues. On average, a residential customer would pay $3.57 more per month. To minimize the impact to customers, Montana-Dakota proposes to delay implementation of interim rates until Jan. 1, 2021. Interim rates allow the company to collect new revenues while the overall request is pending before the commission; revenues collected are subject to refund if the PSC approves a lower amount than the interim rate.

As part of the filing, Montana-Dakota Utilities also is seeking to combine natural gas operations within North Dakota, which means transitioning the 2,355 customers in Wahpeton and surrounding area from Great Plains Natural Gas to Montana-Dakota Utilities for regulatory reporting purposes. Great Plains Natural Gas is a division of Montana-Dakota Utilities. Upon implementation of final rates in this case, Great Plains’ Wahpeton customers will be serviced under Montana-Dakota’s tariffs and after a one-year period will begin receiving their natural gas bills under a Montana-Dakota invoice. Under the proposal, prices would increase by $4.10 a month for Wahpeton customers.

The regulatory filing also includes a request for interim price increase, which if approved would be implemented while the PSC reviews the overall request. The increase for Wahpeton customers would be $1.77 more per month.

Click below for the full filing made with the PSC: