Xcel Energy told to be more 'transparent' in rate hike request

  • Article by: David Shaffer , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 19, 2013 - 6:21 AM

The Department of Commerce called the utility’s revenue data backing a 10.7 percent rate hike request “opaque.”

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cootoriginalMar. 18, 1310:19 PM

Seems lately Xcel has been asking for a rate hike every year. Is that how it's always been? Seems lately they ask for double digit rate hikes and the commission beats them back down to a reasonable rate hike. Last year they were beat over the head for private jet expenses, executive fringe benefits, etc. Why does xcel get to ask for double digit rate hikes every year, forcing the public to look into their finances only to find they overstated their position? Shouldn't there be consequences to overstating their needs besides just lowering the amount? Dishonesty by overstating is the same as lying in my book and should not be tolerated.

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supervon2Mar. 19, 13 5:33 AM

it isn't just the rate hikes. Look closely at your bill. You will see adder after adder put on their by YOUR Government for "Renewables" and "Recycles" depending where you live. If they took the government adders out my bill would decrease 40%. How about that, government watchdogs? Who are you really protecting?

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infocusMar. 19, 13 7:04 AM

Why isn't this the lead story? Where is the tv and media coverage? This rate hike is pure greed and guess what, they WILL get it because we have been sold and bought by the decision makers!

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jrock612Mar. 19, 13 7:27 AM

Monopoly

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turgidMar. 19, 13 7:39 AM

The Ford Motor plant had its own hydroelectric power station that I believe was upgraded in the 90s. How much power could it have been buying from Excel?

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fwallenMar. 19, 13 8:03 AM

There is a fair bit of irony in this story. It appears that Excel is not very forthcoming. At the same time we have three gov't agency using our tax money to oversee the rate request: the commerce department, the High paid Public Service Commission and staff, plus the courts. This is why Minnesota is failing to get a handle on it's own finances or on the finances of the agencies they are supposed to over see.

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mn2niceMar. 19, 13 8:58 AM

'“We want to be an open company,” she said." This statement alone is telling. To want TO BE an open company means they are not now one. So the State's push for transparency is a valid one. How can Xcel feel they are being wrongfully accused when their own statements bely the truth. Replacing old, worn out plants is not the customer's reponsibility to bear, but merely a cost of doing business for any power company. Why must the customer always be asked to pay for a company's need to modernize its facilities. It seems Xcel is putting the cart before the horse.

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texas_technomanMar. 19, 1310:53 AM

Minnesotans, consider yourself lucky. I just moved here from a state where the utilities were deregulated. My rates here are a third less than what I was paying...and no discounted lightbulbs, no rebates for efficient heating / cooling equipment...

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swmnguyMar. 19, 13 1:17 PM

I wish we had a municipal or cooperative electric utility. During the time when Enron was extorting California, the areas that had munis or coops that produced and supplied their power had no troubles at all. We all need electricity, and we can't choose from whom to buy it. So it should not be provided by a for-profit or privately-owned entity.

That isn't how we do it though.

As an Xcel customer in South Minneapolis, I know firsthand how antiquated the grid is. They need to spend huge amount of money to get the grid up to date. That money has to come from somewhere. I hear all the time that taking away 7-figure executive salaries, corporate jets, and lavish perks takes away executives' incentive. So I guess that's out of the question.

Xcel wants to burn natural gas to produce electricity. Right now that's the cheapest way to do it. I doubt that will last, given the depletion rates from fracking. I do question Xcel's long-term planning. Their incentives are heavily skewed to quarter-by-quarter profitability, not long-term prudence.

If Xcel really needs to raise rates, let's see it clearly, in black and white. I don't want to cheap out now and have more regular power outages as 80 year-old chunks of copper melt. But I don't want to keep paying more to feed the corporate bloat either.

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irelandguyMar. 19, 13 2:48 PM

In what other industry is a company able to raise its prices at the rate Xcel Energy has raised its rates? None.

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