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.
There weren’t any tornadoes but severe thunderstorms packed a punch across the metro Tuesday night, toppling trees and knocking out power to more than 40,000 people around the metro.
For generations of farmers, having a wind mill was a dependable way to pump water for their livestock. Now it’s rare to drive Minnesota’s rural roads and see the old steel structures still turning in the breeze. But there’s a good chance what you will see instead is a taller structure spinning with three blades.
Minneapolis city leaders are considering a major change to who provides electric and natural gas utilities. Right now, more than 180,000 customers in Minneapolis get their power from Xcel Energy and 125,000 get natural gas from CenterPoint Energy. Next week, the public will weigh in on a proposal to make those utilities city-owned.
Xcel Energy says the costs of upgrading its Monticello nuclear plant have doubled to $640 million. The utility revealed the cost in a filing Wednesday with the state Public Utilities Commission, after previously saying the figure was a trade secret.