Xcel requests 2-year phased rate increase

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Xcel Energy on Monday went to Minnesota regulators to seek a two-phase rate hike – a 4.6 percent bump in January 2014 and a 5.6 percent hike in January 2015, the Star Tribune reports.

Those hikes would be on top of a 3.8 percent increase approved in August for 2013, which raised an extra $103 million in revenue for the company.

Xcel has hit its 1.2 million electricity customers with five increases since 2005, so the company made an effort with its latest rate hike request to cushion the blow over several years – a strategy known as "rate-smoothing."

“I think you are going to find our rate moderation plans to be in that zone of reasonableness,” CEO Ben Fowke said on a conference call with stock analysts in October.

Xcel says it needs more money to invest in utility infrastructure, including its nuclear power plants. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's review of Xcel's rate increase request will include public hearings, as well as a review by an administrative law judge.

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