Great Plains Natural Gas announced today that it 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 our customers,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Great Plains Natural Gas. “We have worked hard to keep our costs as low as possible, but we have 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: www.gpng.com.

    Great Plains Natural Gas Co. distributes natural gas and provides related services in 18 western Minnesota communities and Wahpeton, North Dakota. It serves approximately 24,000 customers. Great Plains is a division of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. For more information about Great Plains, visit www.gpng.com. Media Contact: Mark Hanson at 701-530-1093 or mark.hanson@mduresources.com.