As the Twin Cities area cleans up from overnight storms, Xcel Energy says around 96,000 customers were still without power by Saturday afternoon, mostly in the western and eastern Twin Cities metro area.
Xcel Energy is launching a new program that it hopes will be a big boost in solar electricity for the Minneapolis-based utility. Instead of installing panels on their rooftops, utility customers can subscribe to a community solar garden, then choose how much solar power to buy or lease. Although it’s still unclear how much the average customer will be charged for participating in the Solar Rewards Community program, they’re expected to save money on electricity bills.
The state is stepping in to help Xcel Energy customers who aren’t happy about a recent rate hike. Right now many homeowners are paying 11-percent more on their electric bills, or about $8 extra a month.
For most businesses, supply and demand rules the day. But utilities like Xcel Energy encourage their customers to conserve. Then when energy use is down, they ask the Public Utilities Commission for a rate increase.
It’s the summer of the heat wave, and that means struggle for many.