Natural gas customers to see CenterPoint rate hike


Minnesota's Public Utility Commission approved a rate hike for customers of CenterPoint Energy on Thursday. But in a twist, customers may get a refund as well.

The Star Tribune explained that CenterPoint had sought a 5 percent increase in revenue. But an administrative law judge recommended cutting the request to 3.6 percent. "The final rate hike is expected to be close to the lower number, but exact figures were not immediately available," the newspaper reported.

The refund comes because CenterPoint got a 4.9 percent interim increase last October. The difference will result in what the Star Tribune calls "a small refund on bills" for many of the company’s 823,000 Minnesota customers.

Most of the extra revenue will go to CenterPoint’s plan to more than double its annual investment in replacing aging pipeline infrastructure.

In a story on its website, AARP Minnesota chronicled the organization's efforts to fight the rate hikes. It circulated a petition, emailed members to solicit public comment, and sent 700 letters to the Public Utilities Commission. Amy McDonough, AARP Minnesota associate state director for advocacy, said rate increases place a disproportionate burden on older people.

“Older consumers devote a higher percentage of their total income toward energy than other age groups, so they’re just more sensitive to these issues,” she said.

The state Public Utilities Commission also set up a three-year billing experiment to strengthen CenterPoint’s conservation efforts and even out the big swings in customer bills — and company revenue — that follow winters that are either more harsh or milder than typical. The new billing method is being used by at least 50 U.S. natural gas utilities.

Last week, CenterPoint reported a 17 percent increase in operating profit for its six-state gas distribution business. That follows an exceptionally cold winter with bills that were much higher than usual.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.


When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.


Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.


Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.