Xcel wants to increase your electric bill to install electric vehicle chargers

On August 2, 2022, Xcel Energy submitted its plan to spend more than $300 million on building 730 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and increasing the use of electric school buses to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The proposal would force Minnesota families and businesses to pay higher electricity prices to finance the construction and operation of the EV chargers, plus a 10 percent government-approved profit for Xcel Energy if the PUC gives Xcel its blessing.

Goals are not mandates

The point of a monopoly electric utility is to provide reliable, affordable electricity to the customers who are forced to buy their power from the company. The point of a monopoly electric utility is not to enforce or enable state targets.

In this regard, Xcel Energy (probably intentionally) missed the memo, stating: “Minnesota has a north star when it comes to transportation electrification — by 2030, the state targets 20 percent of all light-duty vehicles to be electric.”

Xcel continues:

Even with the gains made to date, the state is not on track to meet its 2030 goal. By the end of 2022, there is expected to be approximately 34,000 light-duty electric vehicles in Minnesota, accounting for only about 0.7 percent of the total light-duty population.

We project a need for approximately 8,300 public fast charging ports statewide by 2030 to meet the state’s goal, and there are only 92 non-proprietary public fast charging ports at 56 locations today.

This means that a tremendous amount of additional investment, execution and effort is needed for the state to achieve its EV target and deliver the benefits to Minnesotans.

Additional “investment”

It’s easy to be generous with other people’s money, which is exactly what Xcel Energy is doing in this situation.

If Xcel Energy wishes to build EV charging stations in Minnesota, it should form an unregulated subsidiary company and compete in the marketplace. They should not be allowed to recover costs, and a government-approved profit, on the backs of captive ratepayers.  Shareholders should be exposed to the risk or reward of this venture, not electricity consumers

The problem is, Xcel will always try to charge hardworking families for EV infrastructure because they have a powerful financial incentive to do so, which is why legislators should remove this temptation by prohibiting utilities from rate-basing electric vehicle infrastructure.

Tesla didn’t need a monopoly and government-approved profit to build EV charging stations. Why does Xcel?