Minnesota PUC Approves $ 17.5 Million Xcel Energy Payment Credit for Minnesota Power Delinquent Customers and Electric Vehicle Drivers
Xcel Energy customers who have struggled to pay their bills in the COVID-19 era will get credits on their utility bills in the future, thanks to a 17.5 payment plan credit program. million dollars approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last week.
The overdue credit will apply to those who establish and maintain a payment plan when they owe the utility between $ 1,000 and $ 4,000. Those eligible for the program will receive a 75% bill credit on their balance, with 25% given as an initial credit and the remaining 50% applied as equal monthly credits over a period of up to 11 months.
“We understand why the Minnesotans may have fallen behind on their utility bills,” said PUC President Katie Sieben. “If you are an Xcel customer, please call the utility to set up a payment plan and ask if you qualify for other programs available that will help you catch up on overdue bills.”
Ideally, the payment plan’s credit program is intended to help prevent service disconnections and relieve those with large unpaid balances, building on last year’s PUC orders, including moratoriums from disconnection for public services at regulated tariffs. There are, however, limits to the plan’s allowances. If clients miss more than two consecutive monthly payments, they are excluded from the program.
Simultaneously, Minnesota PUC approved Xcel’s new plan, it also voted forward two Minnesota Power electric vehicle pilot programs. Intended to expand the state’s access to electric vehicles, the pilot projects include a rewards program for off-peak charging and a rebate program for smart charging devices.
The off-peak charging rewards program would reward customers for charging their vehicles during off-peak hours, when costs are lowest. The rebate program would reward the installation of smart charging devices and a second device for off-peak charging periods. The two pilots will assess whether charging EVs during off-peak hours can actually cut costs and help determine what other benefits it might bring.
“Electric vehicle technology has the potential for rapid growth, this move will maximize the benefits of electric vehicles for Minnesota Power taxpayers,” said PUC Commissioner Matthew Schuerger. “Off-peak charging reduces the cost of recharging a vehicle, both for electric vehicle operators and for all Minnesota Power taxpayers. “
These pilots were Minnesota Power’s response to a 2019 PUC electric vehicle order that called on utilities to file proposals to improve the availability or access to charging infrastructure, educate about the benefits of electric vehicles, and / or manage the mechanisms that optimize the efforts to bring electric vehicles on the grid.