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Public Service Commission evaluates Xcel proposal

BISMARCK -- The Public Service Commission is evaluating a proposal from Xcel Energy that would charge North Dakota electric customers an average of 40 cents a month to save them money.

BISMARCK -- The Public Service Commission is evaluating a proposal from Xcel Energy that would charge North Dakota electric customers an average of 40 cents a month to save them money.

Xcel says it wants to spend about $1 million on conservation rebates and energy efficiency information. Customers could get discounted energy audits, low-cost compact fluorescent lighting and breaks on controlling heating and air conditioning.

To pay for it, Xcel wants to increase electric bills an average of 40 cents a month for an average customer. The company has said that by adopting energy-saving steps, customers would more than make up for the extra charge.

Xcel also would hire someone to market conservation practices.

The PSC will look at the costs and benefits of the Xcel proposal, known as a demand side management tariff, Commissioner Tony Clark said.

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"You can throw a lot of money at energy efficiency but there comes a point -- and to me it's the break-even point -- where you say it's just cheaper to build the generation," Clark said.

Xcel serves about 86,000 customers in North Dakota, mainly in Fargo, Minot and Grand Forks.

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