With winter in full effect, Minnesota Power customers can now expect a higher utility bill starting next month. The increase has been in the works for months, and the initial suggested increase was double what is going into effect on January 1, 2022.

Last month members from Minnesota Power met with two consumer advocacy groups regarding the price increase which initially was set to be 14.23% per month but for the interim was negotiated down to 7.11% to alleviate customers affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The price increase for industrial and commercial customers will increase by 14.23%.

So what does this mean for the average customer? According to the company, the increase will be around $5.89 per month added to their bill. Of course, that is just an estimate. Generally, if you live in an apartment building your electric bill will not be as high as if you live in a house. Plus, if you have electric heat obviously your bill will be higher this time of year anyway.

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This initial increase could be temporary as regulators consider the companies original rate increase of 17.58%. It could take up to 18 months for this additional increase to be put into effect. If this full increase is approved the average individual's electric bill would then increase to an additional $15.08 per month and for a small business that increase would be around $55 per month.

This extra cost could really put some individuals and families in some serious hardship as so many people are behind on their bills and rent already due to COVID-19.  I know when my kids were younger I literally had turned into my dad by constantly turning lights off in empty rooms and electronics that were left on with nobody using them. Thankfully at least, for now, the initial price increase is smaller than initially proposed. For more on this story go to duluthnewstribune.com.

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