Many say a summer job is a jumpstart to success. That’s why the U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez is coming to St. Paul Friday. He’s getting a look at a program that the city launched to help high school students get work experience. It’s called Right Track, a partnership between the city, the school district and businesses.
All week, the WCCO Morning Show is taking a look at some of the people in the Twin Cities who’ve made it to the top. On Monday, Jason DeRusha kicked off our CEO Profiles with the man in charge of Minnesota’s largest electricity provider: Xcel Energy.
Officials with Xcel Energy said crews are out in full force trying to restore power to thousands who had it knocked out late Thursday night after our latest winter blast. As of about 10 a.m. Friday, nearly 500 outages still have about 4,400 customers in Minnesota and 5,000 in Wisconsin.
After two days with highs in the 40s, a winter storm slammed into Minnesota Thursday, bringing blizzard conditions to the southern part of the state and threatening to dump well over 10 inches of snow overnight in the eastern-most counties.
Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission will be hearing from the public on Xcel Energy’s plans for ensuring solar and other renewable sources remain part of the state’s power mix. A key issue at Monday’s public comment session is expected to be an Xcel proposal for what it calls more transparency.
Thousands of residents in the northwest Twin Cities metro are starting their Friday without power. Officials with Xcel Energy said more than 9,000 people are affected by a large outage that was reported just after 5 a.m.
About 100,000 residential customers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to crank their thermostats back above 60 degrees Monday after a utility lifted its appeal for natural gas conservation following a weekend explosion in Canada that knocked out three pipelines.
State agencies were monitoring natural gas supplies in the eastern part of North Dakota Monday following a pipeline explosion over the weekend in the neighboring Canadian province of Manitoba.
Xcel Energy is asking certain natural gas customers, in three states, to turn down their heat. The request comes after a natural gas pipeline exploded in Canada Saturday morning.
This month’s up-and-down temperatures have ice on roofs pouring down into Minnesota homes. Experts say ice dams are worse this winter than they’ve been in years. Randy Schmit with the Ice Dam Removal Guys says it’s almost as bad as three years ago, when it was “horrendous.”
Being warm and comfortable in your home this winter could come with a higher price. Greater energy usage translates to bigger bills. Xcel Energy customers used about 29 percent more natural gas this past December than in December 2012. Customers used about 19 percent more natural gas than expected for December.
Xcel Energy is asking 600 business customers in Minnesota and North Dakota to reduce their natural gas usage because of higher demand from the cold. The Minneapolis-based company says the customers are those who take part in interruptible gas rates programs.
Power has been restored to thousands of residents in south Minneapolis who lost service over the weekend. With temperatures below zero degrees, crews are racing to restore service to those who are still in the dark.
The average high temperature for December’s first two weeks was a mere 17 degrees, making it the sixth coldest December on record.
For the sixth time in the last eight years, Xcel Energy customers will be paying more for their monthly electricity. On Thursday, the Minnesota Public Service Commission approved the company’s interim rate request, which will increase the cost of electricity by 4.6 percent beginning Jan. 3, 2014.
Environmentalists hope to nudge regulators toward taking a harder look at the future of Minnesota’s largest coal-fired power plant. The Public Utilities Commission will hear arguments Thursday about Xcel Energy’s long-term planning process for its future power needs.
City officials want residents and businesses to know of a scam targeting Xcel Energy customers. The scammers impersonate Xcel Energy employees and tell victims that they are late on a payment and that they need to make one immediately. And if the victims refuse to do so, the scammers say they’ll shut off their power.
Every year, the average American family spends more than $100 on energy costs to power appliances that have been turned off. These “vampire appliances” – like televisions, cable boxes, DVD players, etc. – continue to use power once we turn off the power switch. According to the Department of Energy, this vampire power accounts for 4 to 5 percent of the energy use in a home. As is the case with almost all appliances, when we turn something “off,” it’s still usually “on” in standby mode.
Xcel Energy is seeking permission to raise Minnesota electricity rates by 4.6 percent next year and 5.6 percent the year after. The increase would bring in about $291 million. The utility’s 1.2 million customers would face an average increase of a bit more than $10 a month.
An apparent gas leak Friday morning at East Ridge High School in Woodbury has canceled classes, according to the school district. At about 11:25 a.m., the school district said the high school was evacuated due to a natural gas odor permeating the building. Students were evacuated to nearby Bielenberg Sports Complex, or to Five Oaks Church.
Minnesotans who have trouble paying their energy bills will be protected from the cold again soon. Xcel Energy said the Cold Weather Rule will go into place starting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and will remain in effect until April 15.
The Department of Energy released its winter fuel outlook and found homeowners with natural gas can expect increases in their heating bills of up to 13 percent.
It’s a source of pride for many Minnesotans – the number of Fortune 500 companies that call Minnesota home. “We live in an amazing state, so I thought a big percentage were here,” said Diane Anderson, of Minneapolis.
Officials with Xcel Energy said power was knocked out more than 12,000 customers in the north Twin Cities metro late Thursday morning and crews are working to restore it. Tom Hoen with Xcel Energy said the outages happened shortly before noon Thursday in the communities of Fridley, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids and Mounds View.
Thousands of people are still waiting for their power to come back on after severe storms tore a path from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities Tuesday night.