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Published February 18, 2011, 07:09 PM

Minnkota Power Cooperative Raises Rates Again

For people in the area, the next month's electricity bill is going to be a bit higher. Minnkota Power Cooperative is increasing its rates.

The Thief River Falls City Council is going to have to raise utility rates once again.

"We just had an eight percent increase and users fee cost in January and now in March they are going to get almost a twenty percent increase," said Thief River Falls mayor Steve Nordhagen.

Minnkota Power Cooperative is increasing its wholesale costs by 30 percent, which effects towns like Thief River Falls who get electricity from the cooperative.

"What's driving all of this are external forces with new rules, requirements and regulations on environmental issues associated with it and putting in a significant amount of additional capital," said Robert McLennon, President & CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative.

Thief River Falls Mayor Steve Nordhagen is upset the increase is so high. He says all the city council can do is increase energy rates to homeowners.

"For me being the mayor, it's very frustrating, because it feels like there is nothing we can do about it. I guess I'm more frustrated than anything," said Nordhagen

McLennon says as a co-op they are not increasing rates to make money, but to cover their $330 million expenses.

"We have no motivation to make money. Our motivation is to provide an affordable product to our members so that people in this area and in rural communities in this region can have affordable electricity," said McLennon.

But for Nordhagen, that price is too much.

"Getting to the bottom of why they need the 30 percent increase is the first step and we are going to have to pass this cost on to our consumers," said Nordhagen.

Nordhagen says the city council is meeting with Minnkota in March to talk about the rising rates.