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Utility rate hikes in DL

Detroit Lakes utilities customers can expect to see rate increases next year for electricity and wastewater treatment.

Wastewater treatment rates will go up about 5 percent as of Jan. 1. That’s about $1.34 per month for the average residential customer, according to Detroit Lakes Utilities Superintendent Vernell Roberts.

The average commercial-industrial customer will see costs increase by about $5.19 per month.

Commercial customers that create wastewater that’s difficult to treat because of excess grease or chemicals will see costs increase by about $15 per month.

The city is building up its wastewater treatment reserve fund to help pay for upcoming improvements to the system.

Electric rates are also going up by 3 percent on Jan. 1.

That will cost the average residential customer $2.35 per month.

The average small business will see a $9 monthly increase.

Large commercial-industrial users will see an average monthly increase of $145.

The money will essentially go to build a new hydroelectric plant in Pella, Iowa.

It will be built by Missouri River Energy Services, which provides 60-65 percent of Detroit Lakes’ power.

The hydro power is part of an effort to meet Minnesota’s requirement that power companies derive 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025.

The 3 percent electricity hike in Detroit Lakes only applies to next year, but rate increases are expected in 2015 and 2016 as well to pay for the hydro project.

The electric rate increase won’t bring any additional revenue to the city, since it is essentially “revenue neutral,” and will be passed on to Missouri River Energy Services, Roberts said.