Minnesota regulators cut $60m from storm response costs

Published 9:33 am Friday, August 12, 2022

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota regulators have blocked the state’s natural gas providers from passing along $60 million in costs they incurred responding to a 2021 storm to ratepayers.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the Public Utilities Commission made the decision Thursday. Ratepayers will still be on the hook for $600 million in costs incurred by CenterPoint Energy, Xcel Energy, Great Plains Natural Gas Co., and MERC, an arm of Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group, however.

Utilities are trying to recoup costs they incurred after a storm struck Texas and other natural gas-producing states in February 2021. Supplies cratered while demand climbed.

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The Minnesota Commerce Department, the attorney general’s office and the Citizens Utility Board contend the utilities didn’t act prudently in the days leading up to the storm, failing to withdraw enough gas from storage, miscalculating supply forecasts and not curtailing gas to businesses when they should have.

Minnesota ratepayers have already started paying the $600 million in the form of a special surcharge.