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The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved Fergus Falls, Minn.-based Otter Tail Power Co.'s request for a renewable resource cost recovery rider that will enable the company to recover its investments in renewable energy facilities that it owns in North Dakota. The renewable resource adjustment will be a separate line item on customers' electric service statements.

The adjustment is $0.0193 per kWh, according to Otter Tail Power. Residential customers using 750 kWh per month, for example, would see an increase on their monthly electric service statements of $1.45. Customers using 3,000 kWh per month would see an increase of $5.79.

The adjustment on customers' bills, however, has the potential to be lower with the addition of new wind energy because the energy that Otter Tail Power receives from owned renewable resources reduces the company's need to purchase higher-priced electricity from the wholesale energy market. And control hours for customers on interruptible rates have the potential to be reduced because of the availability of this new energy.

The first renewable energy project for which the company will receive cost recovery is its 40.5 MW ownership share of the Langdon Wind Energy Center, which became commercially operational in January. The company also will recover through this rider the costs associated with other new renewable energy projects as they are completed.

Otter Tail Power has requested approval of a renewable resource cost recovery rider in Minnesota and hopes to have approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June. South Dakota does not have a similar law that would allow renewable resource riders. The company expects to file a rate case there in the not-too-distant future and expects to include wind projects in base rates after the completion of that case.

SOURCE: Otter Tail Power Co.

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