November 3, 2008
Xcel Energy Requests Electric Base Rate Increase
Citing the need to maintain a safe and reliable electricity system for its customers in the face of escalating costs for 2009, Xcel Energy today asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to raise base electric rates.
"We know that these are challenging economic times for our customers, and we would not ask for a rate change unless it was necessary to maintain safe and reliable service," said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company."Like many businesses, we face increased costs," Sparby said. "The costs of materials such as transformers, wires, steel and cables have risen dramatically in the past three years. We are also investing in our nuclear plants - our lowest cost and most reliable energy source - to keep them safe and reliable."
Xcel Energy has invested $1.2 billion in its core electricity system since its last rate case in 2006. The investments were needed to maintain reliability and meet an increase in demand from new and existing customers. Xcel Energy serves 1.2 million electricity customers in Minnesota.
If approved, the request would result in an increase of $156 million, or 6.05 percent. A typical residential customer's monthly bill would increase by approximately 7.6 percent. A typical small business customer's bill would increase by approximately 5.2 percent per month.
Sparby added that conservation remains the single best way for customers to reduce their energy bills. "Even with the higher costs, there are simple steps customers can take to conserve energy and reduce their bills," he said.
Xcel Energy has several free online resources available to customers to help them conserve electricity and reduce their energy bills. Some of these resources include the Home Energy Analyzer, Energy Calculator and ENERGYsmart Library. Customers can take advantage of these resources by logging onto www.xcelenergy.com/infosmart.
As part of this filing, Xcel Energy proposes to implement interim rates effective Jan. 2, 2009. Interim rates are expected to increase customers' bills by approximately 6 percent during 2009. The interim rates will likely be put into place in late 2009. Those interested will have an opportunity to comment during public hearings the commission may schedule for mid-2009. The filing will be posted on Xcel Energy's Web site at www.xcelenergy.com.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.