The Nov. 6 Letter of the Day ("An Xcel Energy rate hike? Then why on Earth conserve?") asserted that energy conservation is the reason for Xcel's rate increase request. That's not the case.
Our request is driven by investments to ensure reliable service over the long term. Key are investments to keep our nuclear power plants operating over the next 20 years. We also are making sizable investments in our electricity grid. Like spending on roads and bridges, these investments will serve customers well both now and in the future. Because all customers share in the benefits, all share in the costs.
As part of the process, rates will be reset to reflect current usage levels, which are 4 percent lower than when rates last were set. This change primarily is due to the recession's lingering effects, and also to the loss of several major customers who no longer help pay for the cost of producing and delivering electricity. This change is not because of our customers' great success with our conservation programs.
By conserving, our customers helped us avoid building nine power plants that, had they been built, would have caused rates to be higher than they are today. Most important, conservation programs have helped customers manage their bills while enjoying the benefits and comfort of reliable electricity service.
JUDY POFERL; PRESIDENT AND CEO; NORTHERN STATES POWER CO.-MINNESOTA