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Continued: Commerce Department: Reject 60% of Xcel's electric rate hike

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 24, 2014 - 5:42 AM

AARP is reaching out via its Web page, e-mail list, robocalls, social media, full-page newspaper ads and in-person contacts, including a booth at the Pride Festival this weekend in Loring Park. AARP also has hired experts to testify at the hearing in August.

AARP opposes two billing changes proposed by Xcel — an increase in the basic charge that customers pay regardless of energy use and a rate-adjustment plan called “decoupling.”

The decoupling proposal aims to end big seasonal swings in utility bills and profits driven by cold or hot weather. Instead, customers would get a bill credit when electric usage spikes — and pay more to the utility if sales are flat. But AARP argues that it would harm customers who can’t afford energy-efficiency improvements, and would protect Xcel’s profits in a recession.

In the same rate case, the EnergyCents Coalition, an advocacy group for low- and fixed-income utility customers, and five environmental groups have proposed a system of escalating, tiered rates for Xcel residential customers.

 

David Shaffer • 612-673-7090 • @ShafferStrib

 

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