This week, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously ruled in favor of energy efficiency in Xcel Energy’s rate case by keeping the monthly customer charge flat moving forward.
- Xcel proposed a 20 percent increase in the fixed fee on customers’ bills – from $8 to $10.
- Fresh Energy, along with our partner organizations, proposed keeping the fee flat.
- The decision by the Public Utilities Commission is another in a long line of rate design rulings in Minnesota that promote energy efficiency and the cost savings that can come with it.
Fresh Energy partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy to intervene as Clean Energy Organizations in the case. The proposal to maintain the current monthly customer charge was also supported by Administrative Law Judge, Office of the Attorney General, Energy CENTS Coalition, Suburban Rate Authority, AARP, and the City of Minneapolis.
This is the third rate case decision in over the past several years by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to deny an increase to the monthly fixed charge, or customer charge. A ruling in 2016 held CenterPoint Energy’s fixed customer charge flat due in part to their existing decoupling policy. A ruling in 2015 on Xcel Energy’s previous rate case denied an increase to the fixed charge and called for a full decoupling policy. Those were both significant steps toward a more efficient energy system for consumers and utilities.
Decoupling is an accounting tool used to move utilities past the model of simply selling more and more kilowatt hours. It not only provides revenue certainty that utilities seek, it also has been shown in recent research by Fresh Energy and Natural Resource Defense Council to lead to greater investments in energy efficiency and greater energy savings as a result of those investments.