For Release: 11/30/2010
Rosemount, MN – Today, Minnesota Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG), filed a request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to increase overall natural gas distribution rates by about 5.2%. Minnesota Energy’s last distribution rate request was filed in July, 2008. The company's 209,000 customers are served from different pipelines and, consequently, have slightly different rates. The proposed new rates will result in monthly increases for gas distribution service for residential natural gas customers in a range of $2.24 to $5.27.
"We know that rate increases are becoming increasingly difficult for our customers, especially in light of all the other increased costs in energy, food, transportation, and other products," said Minnesota Energy Resources President Chuck Cloninger. "Nearly half of this request is for additional dollars to help our customers conserve and manage their natural gas use. Other lesser reasons include a general rise in the costs of doing business, including providing customer service functions."
Cloninger explained while other industries may choose to reduce the number of shifts or even close entire plants, Minnesota Energy has fixed costs that are at much higher levels than other businesses. Those costs include maintaining and repairing 4,500 miles of natural gas pipes, as well as more than 150 natural gas distribution stations to ensure the safe and reliable energy that customers absolutely count on.
Minnesota Energy Resources has undertaken a number of cost-cutting efforts, including office consolidations and a workforce reduction, while increasing employee contributions for benefits.
Minnesota Energy Resources expects interim rates to be effective in February, 2011, and final rates to be effective during the first quarter of 2012.
The commodity cost of natural gas is not affected by this request. Under the oversight of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Minnesota Energy Resources charges customers the same price it pays for the natural gas commodity.
Minnesota Energy Resources is a regulated natural gas subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG), serving about 209,000 customers throughout Minnesota.