, ,

Major Rate Increase For Xcel Energy Customers Gets State Approval

Fixed Rates Will Go Up 75 Percent On Electric Bills In Western Wisconsin

Fre Sonneveld/Unsplash

The state board that oversees utilities approved a 75 percent increase in Xcel Energy’s fixed charge for services Thursday.

The increase means that starting next year, the utility’s customers in western Wisconsin will begin paying $14 per month in fixed charges, instead of the $8 per month they were previously billed.

Xcel’s original proposal asked for an $18 monthly charge. Over 500 consumers submitted comments to the Public Service Commission opposing that increase.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Elizabeth Ward from the Wisconsin chapter of the Sierra Club said increasing the monthly fixed charge could be detrimental to those with a limited income.

“This is the mandatory fee you pay before you even turn on the light switch. So by increasing this, people who are really tight with their budgets … have less of a control over that,” said Ward.

Don Reck, regional vice president of rates and regulatory affairs for Xcel, said the increased fixed charge will better reflect the actual costs to provide energy, such as materials and maintenance.

“The cost of poles and wires and meters to provide electric service don’t vary based on the amount of usage that a customer has,” Reck said.

Earlier this year, Xcel Energy submitted a proposal to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a much smaller increase for the monthly service charge. However, the state rejected the proposal. Ward said she’s disappointed the Wisconsin commission did not make the same decision, asserting that it’s an “outlier” for approving such large rate increases.

Related Stories