FARGO — About six months ago, Xcel Energy announced its Minnesota customers would receive a rebate because of a federal tax cut. At that time, Xcel officials in North Dakota had not yet determined how their cut of the cash would be distributed.
Utility companies across the country paid lower taxes after the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed. Since then, states have been ordering those companies to pass on the savings to customers.
There was some discussion of using the money to improve energy equipment in North Dakota, or possibly holding down future rate increases.
But on Friday, Feb. 8, Xcel announced its North Dakota customers will receive a rebate. Xcel Energy will soon distribute nearly $10 million to all North Dakota electricity customers as a result of the federal tax cut. All Xcel Energy electricity customers in the state will receive a credit on their bills. The refund for a residential electricity customer will average about $46, but will vary based on each customer’s actual use.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the refunds this week and customers should receive them as one-time bill credit beginning this spring.
As an additional part of the agreement, North Dakota customers will not see any increases in their base electric rates until at least Jan. 1, 2021, which is the earliest any future rate reviews could take effect. The agreement also allows Xcel Energy the ability to provide customers with additional refunds should the company achieve higher earnings than authorized by the commission.
In Minnesota, $200 million was returned to customers through a one-time credit on their bills. A typical Minnesota electricity customer who pays $85 to $90 a month received a credit of about $45.