Let’s talk numbers for a minute. As of June 2022, Xcel Energy reported a profit of $7.8 billion over the previous year.
Currently, Xcel Energy shareholders make a guaranteed 9 percent return yearly on their investments, with Xcel proposing to increase that to over 10 percent. In other words, Xcel Energy and those invested in their company are doing pretty well.
The following numbers tell a different story. According to St. Paul’s Climate Action & Resilience plan, as of 2019, over 42,000 households in St. Paul are struggling with what would be considered a high energy burden.
In other words, far too much of their monthly incomes go to paying for their heat and electricity. One unfortunate outcome from this, as reported from Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light data, is that one in eight Xcel customers are behind on their bills. That last piece of data is for all Xcel customers, so if broken down by Saint Paul customers only, it would undoubtedly be higher.
In other words, unlike Xcel Energy, things are not going well for the average St. Paul resident in terms of affording the basic energy they need.
After taking these two sets of data into account, it is mind boggling to learn that Xcel Energy currently is planning on increasing their customer’s rates by 21 percent over the next three years. The only word for this is unacceptable.
The only answer to this unacceptable situation is for all to stand up and shine a light on what this is: Greed. We, as rate payers, need to let Xcel hear us and demand better, particularly for our neighbors already struggling.
Our elected officials, particularly the mayor and City Council, need to stand up for us all and tell Xcel no to greed. With our combined voices Xcel needs to hear that the people who depend on their energy are more important than runaway profits.
Tom Lucy, St. Paul