Xcel wants another rate hike for going green and fuel costsFor the second time in less than 18 months, Xcel Energy is asking the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for a rate hike to pay for renewable energy investments and higher fuel costs.
By: Rivertowns staff, The Republican Eagle
For the second time in less than 18 months, Xcel Energy is asking the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for a rate hike to pay for renewable energy investments and higher fuel costs.
In June 2007, Xcel asked for electricity increases of 14.2 percent and natural gas increases of 4 to 5 percent. The PSC reduced those increases to 8.3 percent for electricity and 3.3 percent for natural gas.
In May, the PSC approved a 3 percent rate surcharge that will extend through the end of the year. Xcel officials cited rising fuel costs as the reason for the surcharge.
The company now wants the PSC to approve a 7.9 percent hike in electricity rates for households, an increase of $6.47 per month for the average household. If approved, the rate hikes would go into effect Jan. 1.
According to Xcel officials, the total increase would be about $47.1 million, of which they say they would reinvest $18.8 million in electric generation and transmission improvements.
These investments also include increasing the output at Xcel’s nuclear and hydroelectric power plants and a new 100-megawatt wind farm project.
“We are the nation’s No. 1 wind-power provider and by far the leading renewable energy company in Wisconsin,” said Don Reck, Xcel’s director of regulatory and government affairs.
“If we are to continue to take advantage of wind-generated electricity from wind rich areas, new power lines are essential,” he added.
Another $22.7 million of the increase would be used to purchase fuel and power. The final $5.6 million would be used to pay for increased operating and maintenance expenses.
On Thursday, the company reported second quarter profits of $106 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, compared with $69 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, in 2007.
The company attributed the increase to the resolution of a 2007 charge associated with a company-owned life insurance dispute with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.