Xcel energy

Xcel Energy, Wanzek Construction partner on wind farms

Oct 24, 2017
D. Webster

Xcel Energy is expanding its wind energy portfolio.

They've partnered with Wanzek Construction to build the Foxtail Wind Farm in Dickey County, North Dakota, as well as the Freeborn Wind Farm located primarily in Iowa with some turbines located in Minnesota. The projects will total 350 megawatts and about 175 turbines. Mark Nisbet is principal manager of Xcel Energy. He says including wind in their energy portfolio helps keep their electric rates down.

Xcel Energy said it has made very good progress in improving the reliability of its electric service in Fargo.

In the recent past, customers have complained about power outages. And the North Dakota Public Service Commission ordered Xcel to give customers who have had three or more outages in a calendar year a refund.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet said the Cap-X transmission line – which runs from the Monticello nuclear plant in Minnesota to the Mapleton substation has helped with reliability.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A program that required Xcel Energy to offer compensation to customers in the Fargo area for power outages has been extended through the end of 2017.

Under the plan, if a customer suffers three or more power outages in a year, that customer was eligible for a bill credit of $50. Xcel had filed earlier to end the program, saying it had made progress in replacing some older underground power lines – but the Public Service Commission decided it will keep it in place a little longer.

Xcel Energy proposing big wind power expansion

Jul 4, 2017

Xcel Energy has a plan to add 1550 megawatts of wind generation.

And it has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission to give its OK to the plan.

Xcel wants the PSC to issue what is called “advanced determination of prudence.” That designation could make it easier for the utility to seek financing for the project.

The projects include Foxtail, in Dickey County, and Clean Energy #1 in Mercer and Morton Counties. Foxtail is a 150 megawatt wind farm, and Clean Energy #1 is a 100 megawatt facility.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Xcel Energy is extending an “outage credit” until the end of the year for its Fargo customers.

That credit was created after Xcel had problems with power outages. Under it, if a customer has three or more outages a year, the customer would receive a $50 credit on the electric bill. That credit was to expire – but North Dakota Public Service Commission staff worked with the company to keep it in place a little longer..

Xcel and buried power lines in Fargo

Apr 17, 2017

The Public Service Commission said a plan to have Fargo’s Xcel Energy electric customers to pay for a project in downtown Fargo is raising questions.

Fargo city leaders have asked Xcel to bury power lines in the downtown area. It proposes a “special facilities rider” on Fargo’s Xcel customers’ bills.

"It basically allows a company to develop a plan," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "They (Xcel) would account for the costs that are higher than standard construction parameters. If the city agrees, Xcel would allocate it to all the city customers."

North Dakota regulators are objecting to Xcel’s customers in this state paying for a solar project in Minnesota.

"A 718 kilowatt solar facility is being built in Minnesota to comply with some of their mandates," said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk. "And they would like some of those costs spread to North Dakota customers."

Kalk said Xcel proposed that it would be done through a purchased power adjustment, rather than in a full rate case. He said it isn't a lot of money.

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of extended power outages in Fargo.

Xcel Energy says there were a number of factors. One was the failure of some underground lines. Second, some tree limbs took out overhead lines. And third was due to a squirrel. In addition, technology to switch from a downed trunk line to a live line didn’t work because of battery failure.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet told the Public Service Commission there are plans to replace some of the underground line.

The Public Service Commission has reached what it’s calling a comprehensive settlement with Xcel Energy over a number of issues.

And the PSC says the bottom line is: Customers will see a refund on their monthly bills, and Xcel will freeze its electric rates until 2017.

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say a power outage in Fargo Tuesday shows a marked improvement in how Xcel Energy responds to these incidents.

Commissioner Brian Kalk says Xcel estimated 23,000 customers lost power initially, most in downtown Fargo.

“Eighteen thousand of those customers came back on line very very quickly," said Kalk. "Within minutes.”

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