Last November, Minnesota's largest power company proposed an increase of nearly 11 percent. The Commerce Department asked Xcel to drop the increase to $94 million. The utility countered by scaling back the request to $220 million, or an 8 percent hike.
Now the Commerce Department has reiterated its position that Xcel is overestimating some costs while underestimating revenue. The Commerce Department recommends a $90 million increase, representing a 2-3 percent hike.
Judy Poferl, President and CEO of Xcel's Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota expressed disappointment in the recommendation.
"We continue to believe our requested increase is reasonable and necessary," she said.
Xcel has been granted a 9 percent interim rate hike of $251 million this year. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide the final increase. If it is less than the interim rate, customers will get refunds.