Energy hike proves tough climb

Xcel Energy’s hike plan is too much for consumers to pay.

Daily Editorial Board

Since Jan. 1, Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota have paid 9 percent  more on their monthly energy bills than last year. This interim hike averages to about $8 per bill. The hike is just part of a proposed 10.7 percent  hike Xcel plans to implement later this year.

Xcel proposed higher rates, citing a need to make up investments in its two nuclear power plants, efficiency upgrades and a decrease in electricity sales.

Though some of the hike is justified, such as the utility’s transmission upgrades and plant investments, Xcel is asking for far too much in this unprecedented rate increase.

One part of the plan is to boost the basic residential customer charge from $7.11 to $10 a month or by just more than 40 percent. Xcel customers pay this fee regardless of their kilowatt-hour usage. The energy company should not raise this base charge; rather, it should focus on increasing the cost of energy usage in order to add a disincentive for additional use.

Though small, regular increases are expected, an increase of this magnitude is a shock to many customers and unfairly shifts the burden of making a profit on consumers rather than on Xcel.

The Public Utilities Commission has yet to make a final decision on how much the final hikes will be, but we urge interested students to attend public hearings to be heard on this issue. Though it is in our interest to invest in a diverse energy plan, such as Xcel’s nuclear energy plants, the public is not responsible for the profits of the utility, and the PUC should only allow a fraction of the proposed hike to continue.