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Minn. officials seek lower Xcel rate hike

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Minnesota officials prodded state regulators on Thursday to reject a rate increase that Xcel Energy Inc. has proposed for its 1.2 million electric customers across the state, the Star Tribune reports.

Xcel is seeking a 10.7 percent hike that has generated “rate shock” among customers, officials said, the newspaper reported.

So the state Department of Commerce is recommending a more modest increase of about 3 percent to 4 percent, the newspaper reports.

“The request that we put in really reflects what we think is needed to run our business and serve our customers,” Laura McCarten, an Xcel regional vice president, told the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in December approved an interim rate increase of 9 percent, which took effect in January. Meanwhile, the regulators have been mulling a permanent – and perhaps larger – hike.

If the commission approves a permanent rate hike, it would be the fifth Xcel electric rate increase since 2005, the Star Tribune reported.

Xcel Energy customers in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota can comment on Xcel's proposed hike during a series of public hearings in March, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Public comments can also be made at the Public Utilities Commission's website.

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