Xcel raising electric rates 18 percent in South Dakota
December 8, 2022
PIERRE, S.D.–A company that provides electricity to nearly 100,000 South Dakota customers will raise its rates by about 18 percent next month as an initial deadline passes for a state regulatory agency to act on the increase.
Xcel Energy will increase its electricity rates by 17.9 percent, starting Jan. 1. That’s a jump of $19.60 per month on an average residential customer’s bill. The proposed changes affect 97,500 customers.
Dennis Aanenson owns A&B Business in Sioux Falls and gets electricity from Xcel. He testified against the rate hike last week during a state Public Utilities Commission hearing, where he accused Xcel of poor customer service and criticized the company for paying its CEO more than $20 million annually in recent years.
“That’s over $10,000 an hour,” Aanenson said during his testimony. “He makes more in a half day than your lowest-paid employee. Do you think that’s justifiable?”
Xcel stands to gain about $44 million in annual revenue from the higher rates.
The PUC had six months to investigate and make a decision about the rate request before the company implemented it, but the three-member commission will not declare its decision in that timeframe.
That window closes at the end of December. Commission Chairman Chris Nelson said the PUC rarely completes its investigations in six months.
“Once that rate increase was filed with us, our staff immediately began working through the evaluation process,” Nelson said. “That is a very lengthy and complex process.”
The commission will subsequently have another six months to make a retroactive decision, but meanwhile, the requested rates will go into effect as an interim rate hike.
The rate increase will affect commercial and industrial customers as well as residential.