EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Next year, Xcel Energy customers may see an increase on their monthly electric bill.
For Xcel customers, 2018 was the last time they experienced a rate increase.
As the energy company works to make its energy production 80% carbon-free by 2030, it’s asking the state to allow prices to rise to cover the cost of future projects.
“What this agreement is going to allow us to do is to continue to invest in delivering a better product for our customers, maintaining and enhancing our infrastructure and really to ensure some reliable service while ultimately supporting our efforts to get them low cost, clean energy,” Chris Ouellette, a spokesperson for Xcel Energy, said.
One of those projects is a new solar facility in Pierce County.
In Eau Claire County it plans to upgrade a gas main in the Town of Wheaton.
“It’s going to allow us to increase system capacity to meet demand on peak use days and really help us support that system resilience especially during extreme weather,” Ouellette said.
To fund this project and many more, Xcel Energy estimates the cost for a typical residential customer will be about $5.25 a month more in 2022.
In 2023 the rate will go up another $4.25 each month.
Despite an increase, Tom Content with the Citizens Utility Board–a nonprofit that pushes for affordable energy–said the proposed deal is a win for consumers.
“This case involving Xcel is the first time we’re actually being able to see a reduction in the fixed charge, and it’s going to be an 11% reduction over the next couple of years,” Content said.
Content said a fixed charge is a fee energy companies charge for just being a customer.
Right now that number sits at $17 a month. It would go down to $15 by 2023.
Xcel’s natural gas rates are also set to rise as part of the deal. It estimates the average consumer will spend $4.65 more a month in 2022. That number will rise by another $1.20 a month the following year.
Before a rate increase can be approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, it undergoes a public hearing.