In the third quarter of 2013, NSP-Minnesota increased the reserve for revenue subject to refund by $30 million, and also recorded a reduction to depreciation expense and other operating expenses in the same amount, to implement the cost deferral and depreciation requirements of the final MPUC order. Adjustments to the reserve in the third quarter of 2013 related to revenue recognized in the first and second quarters of 2013 were not material.
NSP-Minnesota Nuclear Project Prudence Investigation — In the NSP-Minnesota 2013 Minnesota electric rate case final order, the MPUC initiated an investigation to determine whether the costs in excess of those included in the certificate of need for NSP-Minnesota’s Monticello life cycle management (LCM)/extended power uprate (EPU) project were prudently incurred. In October 2013, NSP-Minnesota filed a summary report and witness testimony to further support the change in and prudence of the incurred costs. The filing indicated the increase in costs was primarily attributable to three factors: (1) the original estimate was based on a high level conceptual design and the project scope increased as the actual conditions of the plant were incorporated into the design; (2) implementation difficulties, including the amount of work that occurred in confined and radioactive or electrically sensitive spaces and NSP-Minnesota’s and its vendors’ ability to attract and retain experienced workers; and (3) additional Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing related requests over the five-plus year application process. In September 2013, the Advisory Committee to the NRC on Reactor Safety recommended approval of the EPU license. The EPU license is expected to be granted by the end of 2013 and the complementary MELLA Plus fuel license is anticipated to be received in March 2014. NSP-Minnesota has provided information that the cost deviation is in line with similar upgrade projects undertaken and the project remains economically beneficial to customers. The results and any recommendations from the conclusion of this prudence proceeding are expected to be considered by the MPUC in NSP-Minnesota’s 2014 Minnesota electric rate case.
NSP-Minnesota – North Dakota 2013 Electric Rate Case — In December 2012, NSP-Minnesota filed a request with the North Dakota Public Service Commission (NDPSC) to increase annual retail electric rates approximately $16.9 million, or 9.25 percent. The rate filing is based on a 2013 FTY, a requested ROE of 10.6 percent, an electric rate base of approximately $377.6 million and an equity ratio of 52.56 percent. In January 2013, the NDPSC approved an interim electric increase of $14.7 million, effective Feb. 16, 2013, subject to refund. In June 2013, NSP-Minnesota revised its rate increase to $16 million, reflecting updated information.
On Aug. 12, 2013, NSP-Minnesota filed rebuttal testimony revising the requested increase in retail electric rates to approximately $14.9 million, based on a revised ROE of 10.25 percent and incorporating the updated information from June 2013.