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Published February 11, 2010, 09:43 PM

Electric Customers Paying Surchcharge to Offset Wind Energy Losses

The economy is also effecting the energy market as well and people North Dakota are going to feel the effects.

With the economy on the down hill, its effects are hitting more than healthcare and unemployment. The economy is also effecting the energy market as well and people North Dakota are going to feel the effects.

Nodak Electric has added a surcharge to their customers energy bill to help make up for last year's losses.

It's going to be a long winter for those in North Dakota and Minnesota who get power from Minkota power company and its cooperatives. Due to a $21 million dollar loss last year related to wind energy, customers are going to have to pay a surcharge to make up those loses.

George Berg/Nodak Electric's President and CEO: "Our average residential user is probably closer to 1500 kilowatt hours which would be 7 dollars and 50 cents. Unless you add heat with the electricity and add heat with electricity using 20,000 kilowatt hours in a heating season can do the math that's a 100 dollars."

The loses have come from excess wind energy being produced at wind farms in North Dakota. Minnkota used to sell that energy around the midwest at a profit, but during the recession, demand is down and that electricity has been selling for less than it costs to produce. Nodak Electric says they are mandated to use wind energy.

George Berg/Nodak Electric's President and CEO: "Can you not just generate the wind and then you don't have that energy to sell and we are committed to that wind from a developer we are secured from a contract for the wind so we have to buy that power."

Berg Says there is nothing they can do but bill the customer for the excess energy. The surcharge should end by the end of the year.

George Berg/Nodak Electric's President and CEO: "It's part of business we hope that the economy changes and the market changes as this goes away sooner rather than later."

Berg says they have received some complaints from customers on the surcharge. He says most people understand why they have added this additional charge.

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