Xcel Energy 4Q profit edges down 0.2%

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Xcel Energy Inc. saw a marginal decline in fourth-quarter earnings as the company saw lower natural gas revenue, Dow Jones Newswires reports. The Minneapolis-based electricity-and-gas utility posted a profit of $140.2 million, down from $140.5 million a year earlier.

Xcel Energy says its 2012 net income was $905 million, compared with $841 million in 2011, according to a company news release.

"We delivered earnings in the upper half of our guidance range, which represents the eighth consecutive year in which we have met or exceeded our earnings guidance and for the ninth consecutive year we increased our dividend," Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement. "We implemented a multi-year rate plan in Colorado and reached constructive regulatory outcomes in several other rate cases. Finally, we maintained excellent reliability during one of the warmest years on record, all executed with outstanding safety performance."

Minnesota Public Radio says Xcel, Minnesota's largest utility company, has no plans to invest in wind energy this year.

"We're in a position where we don't have to add wind in 2013 in order to comply with state standards," Laura McCarten, Xcel's regional vice president told MPR. "We're well ahead of meeting those compliance benchmarks, using both our installed wind and the bank of renewable energy credits that it has generated."

Xcel began charging its Minnesota customers a 9 percent interim rate hike on Jan. 1 while the company seeks an even larger rate increase of 10.7 percent.

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