Utility rate increases are poised to push Minnesota past the national average.
Star Tribune, November 16, 2019
Hefty rate hikes that Minnesota’s largest utilities are seeking could push the state’s electricity prices above the national average for the first time in years.
Residential prices in Minnesota have been more expensive than for the nation as a whole since 2016, federal data show. With businesses included, the state’s total power price last year almost hit the national average.
Then earlier this month, Minnesota’s two largest electric utilities — Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power — asked state regulators for significant rate hikes. Xcel filed for a 15% increase over three years, which would leave residential customers paying an estimated $110 more per year by 2022.
“Anytime you see rate increases, it is going to be difficult for some people in Minnesota to pay their bills,” said Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota. Lower-income consumers and people on a fixed income — often seniors — usually face the most difficulty as higher power costs eat up a greater proportion of their budget.