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Xcel Energy rate increase decision coming soon

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 3:31 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Your News Leader is following up on a story we investigated about a spike in Xcel Energy bills for Minot customers, as the energy company and the North Dakota Public Service Commission are coming to a final agreement in the coming weeks.

For Xcel Energy customers like Collin Bedecs, utility bills have been higher than ever before.

“It just seems to be so exploitive of people who are already up against the ropes financially,” said Bedecs.

The case started last November when the Public Service Commission rejected a proposed service rate hike from Xcel of 10.8%.

Then, in March, regulators struck down a second proposal, this time, a 9.3% hike.

“They adjusted the first numbers that they presented. They reduced it by a little bit, but not significant in the big picture,” said Brian Kroshus, Public Service Commissioner.

The two sides eventually settled on a 3.4% increase, which should be approved in the coming weeks.

“From a ratepayer perspective, it’s fair. Nobody likes rate increases, including myself, but we also have to ensure that we’re balancing reliability with affordability,” said Kroshus.

Bedecs said he understands the need to expand infrastructure, but is not supportive of the initial interim rate increases.

“For me, I don’t really see the difference. Because I haven’t seen anything except that $400 bill,” said Bedecs.

Xcel released the following statement to Your News Leader on the case developments:

“Our revised rate proposal will ensure reasonable electric rates for our customers in North Dakota, while still allowing us to strengthen the grid and deliver the reliable service our customers count on while keeping bills low. We are hopeful that the Commission will approve the 3.4% rate settlement. If approved, residential customers would see, on average, a refund of approximately $26 later this year.”

“I support refunding, however, I feel they have taken more than they are giving. When I have an increase in $200, you can give me $26, it doesn’t make up for that,” said Bedecs.

The commission did add in that this is has been the first rate increase the company has asked for in several years and will make a final decision within the next two months.

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