PIERRE — Otter Tail Power presented evidence Tuesday that charging a tiny bit extra and dedicating the revenue to programs for reducing use of electricity can save a lot of money for consumers in the long run.
The state Public Utilities Commission agreed with Otter Tail and gave the Fergus Falls, Minn.-based company permission to charge a tad more for the same purpose.
Otter Tail will increase its energy-efficiency adjustment by 17 percent starting July 1.
Money raised from the adjustment pays for incentives that are intended to reduce electricity consumption.
Otter Tail showed that its South Dakota customers saved a net $3.8 million through avoided costs for additional electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
The rate adjustment will increase from $0.00088 per kilowatt hour to $0.00103. That’s just slightly more than one-tenth of one cent.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said Otter Tail’s efficiency program appears to be the most effective of any in South Dakota.
“It was very interesting and encouraging, all the electricity you have saved,” Fiegen told Otter Tail’s representatives.
Commissioner Chris Nelson said he appreciated Otter Tail’s effort to hold down the efficiency adjustment increase to 17 percent.
Otter Tail serves customers in northeastern South Dakota.
Among the incentives offered by Otter Tail are programs that encourage higher-efficiency electric motors, change-outs of old lighting systems, residential and commercial use of geothermal heat pumps, better windows and insulation, use of air heat pumps and air conditioning controls.
Follow @pierremercer on Twitter.