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Settlement extends Xcel rate freeze through 2017 for ND customers

BISMARCK - North Dakota utility regulators approved a comprehensive settlement agreement with Xcel Energy on Wednesday that locks in base electric rates for customers through 2017 and moves up the timeline for the company to build a natural gas-f...

BISMARCK – North Dakota utility regulators approved a comprehensive settlement agreement with Xcel Energy on Wednesday that locks in base electric rates for customers through 2017 and moves up the timeline for the company to build a natural gas-fired power plant in the state.
The agreement resolves lingering issues from a February 2014 settlement regarding how Xcel spreads the cost of new resources developed in its system.
Public Service Commission member Randy Christmann said that while regulators in some states are determined to impose arbitrary costs on multi-state power companies like Xcel, the order approved Wednesday shows the PSC “is just as determined to make sure our citizens do not have to pay those costs.”
Commissioner said the new agreement means Xcel’s 90,000 customers in North Dakota – primarily in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and West Fargo – won’t have to pay for 15 community-based energy projects and two solar power purchase agreements being developed to meet Minnesota mandates.
It also extends a rate freeze by one year, through 2017. Xcel also commits to locating a natural gas-fired electric generation facility with a capacity of at least 200 megawatts in eastern North Dakota by 2025 instead of 2036.
North Dakota will continue to pay its proportionate share of six biomass power purchase agreements and two wind projects that the PSC says will reduce overall system costs.

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