Xcel to ask regulators for significant rate increase

Xcel Energy plans to ask Minnesota regulators next month for another rate increase.

State regulators signed off on a nearly 4 percent rate hike in August. Disappointed Xcel officials, who'd asked for a bigger bump, were expected soon to announce another rate increase plan.

Xcel is telling investors the new increase request will be sizable.

The utility, though, says it will come up with a plan to spread out the increase over several years to minimize the impact on customers.

Xcel says the rate hike is needed to cover the costs of upgrades at its two nuclear plants. The utility has also faced extra expenses to purchase power after a failure two years ago at one of its coal-fired units at the Sherburne County Generating Station. Sherco 3 came back on line earlier this week.

State officials are investigating cost overruns at Xcel's Monticello nuclear plant to decide whether Xcel's customers should have to cover those costs.

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