Attorney General Ellison’s office helps cut Xcel Energy’s rate hike by more than half

Attorneys and analysts representing residential and small-business ratepayers as well as the Department of Commerce help ratepayers afford their lives

June 2, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted yesterday on Xcel Energy’s request to raise rates for its electric customers. The Commission slashed Xcel’s proposed $678 million rate hike by approximately $372 million, or more than half the hike Xcel originally requested, marking a victory for consumer advocates that had opposed the request, including the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. 

Staff with the Attorney General’s Residential Utilities Division beat back Xcel’s proposals to speed up rate recovery of its investments in coal-fired power plants, fund its membership in industry groups that lobby for special interests, and spend millions of dollars on unnecessary upgrades to its electric grid, among others. 

In a joint effort with other advocates, the Attorney General also won a reduction in the basic monthly service charge for most residents and small businesses. Customers will see the reduced $6 service charge on their bills once final rates take effect later this year.   

“As attorney general, my mission is to help Minnesotans afford their lives, and few things affect the cost of living more than an essential service like electricity,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Every janitor, store clerk, small business owner, and single parent in Xcel’s service territory who flips on a light switch pays Xcel’s rates, with no choice of alternative providers. That’s why my team worked tirelessly to help ensure that the Commission approved only costs necessary to provide safe, reliable electric service.” 

Under state law, the Attorney General advocates for the interests of residential and small-business utility consumers, through the Office’s Residential Utilities Division. The division’s attorneys and financial experts scrutinize utilities’ proposals to the Commission, file written analysis, and participate in contested proceedings before the Commission and the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. Attorneys in another division of Attorney General Ellison’s office represent the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which also advocates for consumers in utility rate cases, and these attorneys also contributed to securing this victory for ratepayers.