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Xcel Energy proposes 15.2% electricity price hike over 3 years

It's filed the proposal with the Minnesota PUC.

Following hot on the heels of Centerpoint's proposed gas price hike, Xcel Energy has proposed its own rate hike for Minnesota customers between 2020-22.

The proposal would increase the average residential bill by 15.2 percent over the three years, adding $4.80 to monthly bills in 2020, $1.25 in 2021, and $3 in 2022.

That would mean another $108.60 added to the average annual electricity bill by 2022.

Xcel Energy, Minnesota's largest electricity utility, is seeking to increase revenues by $466 million through the rate rise, but will have to wait a while before a final decision is made by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

In the meantime, it's asked for a 4.1 percent interim increase in the rate, which would go into effect on Jan. 1. If the PUC ends up approving increases lower than 4.1 percent, customers will get a refund.

The utility says it would use the additional revenue to build new and upgrade its transmission and distribution lines, building an "advanced electric grid" that provides more options for customers.

This would comprise an investment of $147 million, with a further $63 million earmarked for Xcel's nuclear energy plants at Prairie Island and Monticello.

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Xcel's efforts to provide 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050 continue as well, with a little over $80 million of costs relating to its wind energy investment a part of the $466 million revenue boost, per the Star Tribune.

The utility argues that shifting to carbon-free energy sources will prove more sustainable financially for customers in the long term, though has said in the past that it will require some up-front investment.

"We are further strengthening our core services to meet our customers’ energy needs, both today and as we build toward our vision of providing 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050," said Xcel CEO Chris Clark in a statement sent to BMTN.

"We’ve taken advantage of the falling cost of renewable energy and new ways of saving energy to help keep overall bills low, even as we’re making significant grid and service upgrades for our customers. Our investments position us to provide the clean and reliable electricity they need, while maintaining affordability.”

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