Xcel Energy rate hike scrutinized

Xcel Energy rate hike scrutinized Click to Enlarge Photo:

Mar 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota officials are urging regulators to slash Xcel Energy's proposed rate increase for electric customers in the state.

Officials say Xcel's proposed 10.7 percent increase is creating ``rate shock'' among customers. Instead, the state Commerce Department is recommending a smaller rate hike of about 3 percent to 4 percent.

The department analyzes utility finances on behalf of ratepayers. It says Xcel's request for a $285 million rate hike should be reduced by more than $191 million, or two-thirds.

Even with a smaller rate hike, the department says the Minneapolis-based utility will be financially strong enough to offer safe, reliable service.

Xcel officials say they will carefully study the state's objections during the regulatory review now underway.

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