Utilities to save millions due to federal tax cuts

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — Xcel Energy has notified regulators that its revenue needs will be reduced by about $140 million this year due to federal tax cuts.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission started an investigation in December into how the law would impact electric and natural gas utility rates and services.

But it remains to be seen how much of that savings will be passed to utility customers. In a filing with the commission, Xcel said customers would “receive the full value of the tax reform benefits,” but didn’t offer specifics.

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Xcel said the commission could decide to use the tax savings to pursue ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

“We believe the savings from tax reform can help us keep customers’ bills low and allow for ongoing investment in clean, reliable and low-cost energy,” the company said.

Xcel has 1.3 million customers in Minnesota and is the state’s largest electric utility company.

Minnesota’s largest gas utility, CenterPoint Energy, said it plans to return any savings to its customers. The savings could be applied to the utility’s current rate hike request of 6.4 percent, the Star Tribune reported.