Citing as key factors investments to preserve and expand operations of its nuclear plants and electricity grid, Xcel Energy today asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to authorize an increase in base electricity rates.
“Our customers expect safe, reliable and clean electricity service, and we have been investing more than $1 billion a year to meet those expectations,” said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company that serves 1.2 million electricity customers in Minnesota. “This case is largely driven by these investments, which provide great value to our customers over the long term.”
Investments that allow continued operation of the Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants, expand the output of the Monticello plant and refresh and upgrade the transmission and distribution system -- much of which was built more than 50 years ago -- are the primary drivers of the company’s $285 million request. The total includes approximately $40 million in higher property taxes associated with these and other investments in the electricity system.
“We sought and obtained approval to continue operation of our nuclear plants because they provide some of our lowest-cost, environmentally sound electricity,” said Poferl. “As a condition of that approval, we need to invest now in our nuclear plants to keep them operating safely and reliably over the next 20 years.”
The request represents a 10.7 percent increase in customer rates overall. As part of the filing, Xcel Energy seeks implementation of interim rates effective Jan. 1. Under the interim rate proposal, a typical residential customer’s monthly bill would increase by approximately 10 percent, or about $8.
Even with the proposed rate increase, Xcel Energy rates will remain competitive, Poferl said.
“Nonetheless, we understand the impact of this proposed increase on our customers, and we offer an extensive suite of programs to help manage and lower bills,” she said. “While all customers contribute to the costs of keeping our system safe and reliable, customers can reduce their individual costs by participating in these successful programs.