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Public input sessions planned

Public input sessions hosted by the Public Service Commission regarding proposed rate increases by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. will be held Monday and Tuesday at Dickinson State University.

The increase, separate from a rate hike recently approved by the PSC to cover the cost of the failed Big Stone II power plant, was requested by MDU in April.

The PSC approved an interim rate increase of $7.6 million per year effective June 18, adding about $4.49 per month to a residential customer's bill for 750 kilowatt hours of electricity, according to the MDU website.

MDU's requested rate increase is for $15.4 million per year, a 14 percent increase, "to recover the cost of Montana-Dakota's investment in renewable energy generation, increased investment in other electric facilities and the loss of wholesale sales margins," according to an MDU bill insert regarding the request.

The public input sessions will be hosted in three locations: At noon Monday or 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dickinson in Kleinfelter Hall room 216 at DSU, and also in Williston and Bismarck.

"We'll have people at each location. The commissioners, I believe, are splitting up, one at each location," said Mark Hanson, spokesman for MDU.

The meetings will also be broadcast over the state's IVN link, accessible at under the "NDPSC Broadcast of Public Input Sessions," according to an MDU brochure.

It has not been decided which commissioner will be present at the Monday session in Dickinson, according to the Public Service Commission office.