Xcel tries to recoup billions in nuclear investments

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Xcel Energy has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to approve an increase in base electricity rates in order to preserve and expand operations of its nuclear plants and electricity grid.

Xcel says it has been investing more than $1 billion a year to meet these goals. The value of the company's request equals $285 million, including around $40 million in higher property taxes for customers. Driving these investments have been the continued operation of the Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants and upgrades to the 50-plus year old transmission and distribution system.

The request represents a 10.7 percent increase in customer rates overall. As part of the filing, Xcel Energy seeks implementation of interim rates effective Jan. 1. Under the interim rate proposal, a typical residential customer's monthly bill would increase by approximately 10 percent, or about $8.

If approved, final rates would be effective in the first quarter of 2014.

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