Xcel: Clean Energy Helps Hold down Rates

Tom Giffey

Xcel Energy is crediting its investment in “clean energy” for a recent agreement it reached with several consumer groups that would keep utility rates below 2018 levels through 2021. The proposal, which will be the subject of a July 25 hearing before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, was announced in May. “Under the agreement, typical residential electric bills will be approximately 5% less in 2020 and 1% less in 2021 compared to January 2018,” Xcel said in a media release. “Typical residential natural gas bills will be approximately 5% less in 2020 and 2021 compared to January 2018. Business customers will see similar savings based on their rate class, usage characteristics, and type of service.” The proposal was reached through negotiations between Xcel and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, RENEW Wisconsin, and the Citizens Utility Board. It still requires approval from the Public Service Commission, the state government agencies that regulates utilities. The savings were made possible in part by 2017 federal tax cuts that benefited Xcel. The utility company also announced earlier this year that it had reduced carbon emissions by 38% from 2005 levels and was aiming to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. Steps toward that goal include closing as coal-fired power plants in the Upper Midwest by 2030.