Xcel, Minnesota Power seek electricity rate increases

Monticello nuclear plant
Xcel Energy's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, seen in 2012.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2012

Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power on Friday announced plans to increase electricity rates by about 15 percent over the next three years.

The plans by the state’s two largest utilities are subject to approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Xcel said its proposed rate increase will allow the utility to invest in transmission and distribution lines to help strengthen reliability and carry power from new wind farms. Xcel also plans to tap new technologies aimed at making the electric grid more resilient and responsive to customers.

Smart meters, which can keep track of how much electricity a household or business is using at certain times of day, are also part of Xcel’s rate increase plan.

“Under this proposal, average residential bills would remain below the national average,” officials said in a written statement. Monthly increases for residential customers would be about $4.80 in 2020, $1.25 in 2021 and $3.00 in 2022, it said.

Xcel has said it will continue moving toward providing 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.

“Our investments will deliver an even better product for our customers — one that’s even more clean and reliable — while offering them new tools to save on their bills,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, said in written statement.

Minnesota Power officials say their rate increase proposal would allow the utility to continue its plans to improve the grid and supply half of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2021. Residential electricity bills could go up by about $11.66 a month under the proposal.

“Our investments in renewable and lower-carbon energy, along with the modernization of our regional power grid, are meeting the changing expectations of our customers and communities,” Frank Frederickson, Minnesota Power vice president of customer experience, said in a news release.

Both utilities have asked for an interim rate increase while regulators consider the proposals.

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