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Moorhead Public Service’s customers should not see higher electric rates as result of winter storm

PRESS RELEASE: Moorhead Public Service’s customers should not see higher electric rates as result of winter storm

 

For Immediate Release on Friday, February 26, 2021

 

Last week, Moorhead Public Service (MPS) and its power suppliers saw an unprecedented perfect storm of events that affected the reliability of the power grid throughout the central U.S. Despite this perfect storm, MPS does not expect to raise rates to its electric customers due to the historic cold weather that caused significant increases in energy demand on the U.S. power grid last week. MPS also does not expect a rate increase from its power suppliers.

 

The event highlighted the critical need in the electric industry for a diverse, flexible, and robust generation mix to ensure that there is always sufficient electricity available.

 

Severely cold temperatures throughout the region caused a high demand for electricity. At the same time, many electric generating plants failed to perform during the extreme weather event, particularly in the southern U.S.

  • Wind units failed to perform due to lack of wind in the region, along with icing conditions in the south.
  • Solar failed to perform due to heavy cloud cover.
  • Coal and gas generation in southern states failed to perform due to freezing of gas wells or freezing at the plants themselves
  • In addition, limited gas supplies across the region played a significant part in the crisis situation.

 

MPS has two power providers.

  • Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) supplies a specified amount of hydroelectric power to our community from the dams on the Missouri River, and
  • Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) supplies the remainder of the power used in Moorhead. MRES has a diverse mix of resources in terms of both fuel sources and geographic locations, including: 
    • Hydroelectric
    • Coal
    • Natural gas
    • Wind
    • Solar
    • Diesel
    • Nuclear

 

All of MRES’ electric generation plants operated to the fullest extent possible during the emergency event and performed well. The natural gas power plant, located in central Iowa and operated by MRES, switched to diesel fuel operation when natural gas was curtailed.

 

During this winter storm, several MRES member communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota successfully operated their local diesel generators to support power supply in the Southwest Power
Pool (SPP) region.  SPP is one of two regional transmission organizations (RTO) serving MRES members that oversees the reliability of the electric grid and operates a wholesale power market in the central U.S. Members with generating units in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) RTO region were not asked to run their generators.

 

When renewable resources are not available and fossil fuel generation is needed to provide energy and reliability support, MPS offsets the carbon emissions produced by the fossil fuels with our purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs are proof that electricity was generated by qualifying clean, renewable facilities and are fed into the electric grid on our behalf. MPS will purchase RECs to offset all carbon emissions from fossil fuels throughout 2021.

 

The diverse resources in the power supply mix that serves Moorhead provide protection for our community against the unavailability of particular fuel sources, such as wind and natural gas during this event. Along with providing energy and reliability support for the region, the generating assets of MRES provide protection against high market prices. MRES’ generators, which operated during the crisis, will be paid the market price for energy generated. These market payments will cover the costs of generation.

 

Additionally, MRES has an energy risk management program that enables it to maintain stable rates during extreme events like the polar vortex. Under the program, MRES makes advanced energy purchases in the MISO market at fixed prices. These fixed-price purchases lessen the exposure to fluctuating prices in the energy market and add another layer of financial protection for MRES and its members.

 

“The final financial impact to MRES and its members of the higher energy market prices during the February 2021 polar vortex is currently unknown.” said MRES Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Merlin Sawyer. “However, the MRES financial risk management strategies, along with the operation of our power plants, allowed us to meet our capacity and energy requirements while avoiding exposure to the daily energy market. We do not expect to be adversely impacted by the recent high energy prices and we don’t anticipate any negative rate impacts to our members. Without the risk management strategies, a rate increase would have been likely.”

 

Many resources throughout the U.S. failed to perform during this extreme weather event. However, the resources serving MRES members were available, reliable, and flexible, and they performed as anticipated. Even so, the SPP reliability coordinator ordered rolling blackouts to support the electric grid throughout their region, and Moorhead was one of the communities called upon to comply.

 

“MPS extends a huge thank you to the residents and businesses of Moorhead who were impacted by the controlled outage,” said Travis Schmidt General Manager of MPS. “We never want to inconvenience our customers, but SPP had to initiate the outages to protect the greater grid. Doing our part for a short time prevented longer, more sustained outages for Moorhead and the entire region. Our long-term relationship and power supply contract with MRES gives us confidence that we can expect affordable, reliable electricity well into the future,” said Travis Schmidt General Manager of MPS.

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Please contact the following individual for more information:

Travis L. Schmidt, P.E., MBA

General Manager

Moorhead Public Service

Phone: 218.477.8000

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Moorhead Public Service, 500 Center Avenue, P.O. Box 779, Moorhead, MN 56561-0779 ♦ 218.477.8000, Option 4

Providing safe and reliable electricity and water to the community of Moorhead since 1895.

For information about Moorhead Public Service, visit our Web site at www.mpsutility.com.

Receive updates from Moorhead Public Service at www.twitter.com/mpsutility or www.facebook.com/mpsutility.

 
MRES FAQ - Alerts & Outages

Please see our below FAQ for the recent Rolling Blackout situation.

 

Missouri River Energy Services’ FAQs on the Feb. 15-18, 2021, energy
emergency alerts and power outages in the Southwest Power Pool

 

For previous updates see below:

 

Update from Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Update from Thursday, February 18, 2021—2:45 PM

 
COVID-19 Response

PRESS RELEASE: Moorhead Public Service Response to COVID-19


Moorhead Public Service Commission (MPS) provides two essential needs (Water and Electricity) to the Residents and Ratepayers of Moorhead. The safety and health of MPS Employees and the continued service of water and electricity are the most critical priorities whether we are under normal operations or dealing with the current World Pandemic COVID-19, and a potential flood. Without MPS employees, it is complicated to provide these two very essential services. Our goal is to make sure employees stay safe and healthy to keep the lights on and the water clean and flowing to our customers at all times.

 

As the Interim General Manager of MPS, I will be recommending to the Moorhead Public Service Commission on March 17, 2020, that during this time of COVID-19, MPS temporarily change our current policy to stop any future disconnection until further notice. I will also recommend that MPS temporarily reconnect all customers that are currently under involuntary disconnection procedures. MPS will continue to meter and bill customers for these services. MPS also suggests that customers utilize the MPS online payment center, which is www.mympsbill.com , or using one of the other five payment options on the right-hand side of www.mpsutility.com under the Payment Options section. MPS suggests not using the in-person options for the health of our employees. If, for some reason, you are having difficulty paying your utility bill, please contact MPS, and MPS will arrange a reasonable payment plan that works for you.

 

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, MPS will monitor the situation and do what is necessary to meet the electricity and water needs of those that MPS serves.

 

Please contact the following individual for more information:

 

Travis L. Schmidt, P.E.

Interim General Manager &
Electrical Engineering Manager
Moorhead Public Service
Phone: 218.477.8000
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Moorhead Public Service, 500 Center Avenue, P.O. Box 779, Moorhead, MN 56561-0779

218.477.8000, Option 4

 

Providing safe and reliable electricity and water to the community of Moorhead since 1895. For information about Moorhead Public Service, visit our Web site at www.mpsutility.com.

Receive updates from Moorhead Public Service at www.twitter.com/mpsutility or www.facebook.com/mpsutility

 

 

Thank you.

 

 

Energy Rebates!


arrow-newsite Click here for residential rebate forms.


arrow-newsite Click here for business/commercial rebate forms.

 

Proposed 2021 Budget and Rates

Moorhead Public Service (MPS) is locally governed by a five-member board of MPS customers known as the Moorhead Public Service Commission (Commission). Each fall, the Commission has the responsibility of establishing the utility’s rates and budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Preliminary estimates indicate that rate increases for MPS customers in 2021 may be between 0 and 3 percent for electric rates and between 5 and 8 percent for water rates.

 

The Moorhead Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing to consider changes in electric and water rates in Moorhead. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at 5:30 PM, in the Council Chambers, Moorhead City Hall, First Floor, 500 Center Avenue, Moorhead, Minnesota. If  restrictions for public meetings are still in effect due to the COVID-19 emergency, instructions on how to participate in the rate hearing will be provided at a later date. **(see below)**

 

For thirty (30) days subsequent to the closing of the rate hearing and prior to the adoption of a rate change, written testimony shall be received and considered by the Commission. To be considered by the Commission, written comments should be postmarked no later than Friday, November 20, 2020, and mailed to: Moorhead Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 779, Moorhead, MN 56561-0779.

 

A formal decision regarding MPS’ 2021 rates will be determined at the Commission’s meeting on or about December 15, 2020.

 

Click on the following for information regarding Moorhead Public Service’s (MPS’) proposed 2021 budget and rates:

 

 

 

**Moorhead Public Service’s Electric and Water Rate Hearings will be held on Tuesday,
October 20, 2020, at 5:30 p.m; however, the hearings will not be open to in-person attendance due to the COVID-19 emergency. Listed below are alternate ways to submit your comments prior to the rate hearings:

  • E-mail your comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it prior to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. We will acknowledge receipt of customer comments via an e-mail and submit e-mails to the Moorhead Public Service Commission for review and consideration.
  • Call the comment line at 218-299-5001 to offer questions/comments and/or request to be bridged onto the audio conference. Customers will be given 3 minutes to speak.**
  • Mail written comments to: Moorhead Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 779, Moorhead, MN  56561-0779 prior to 3:00 p.m., on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Letters will be submitted to the Moorhead Public Service Commission for review and consideration.
 

 


 

 

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Payment Options

Looking to pay your MPS bill? We have several options:

Reoccuring Payment

Automatic

Payment (ACH) Free!!
Payment automatically withdrawn

on the bill due date from your

checking or savings account


at the MPS Office on Second Floor

(no additional fees)


Pay your Bill Online

On-line 24/7

Go to www.mympsbill.com and

Pay with a credit or debit card

(additional fees apply)

 

Pay in Person

In Person

Second Floor

Monday through Friday

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

 

Pay-By-Phone 24/7

Have your customer-account

number and payment information ready.

 

218-477-8017 or

218.477.8000 option 2

(additional fees apply)

 

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Mail

Mail your payment and bill stub to:

Moorhead Public Service

PO Box 779

Moorhead, MN 56561-0779

 

Drop Box

Near automatic doors on Mall floor

(silver box on brick wall)

***Available during Mall hours***

6690-200

 

Drive Up Drop Box

Located in the Moorhead Mall

Northern side parking lot

(By Moorhead Drug and the

Northern entrance to the mall)

Available 24/7


© 2021 Moorhead Public Service | 500 Center Avenue, P.O. Box 779 | Moorhead, MN 56561-0779
mps@mpsutility.com | phone: 218.477.8000 | fax: 218.477.8020 | Administrative Login