Xcel Seeks Rate Increase

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X-cel Energy is seeking another price increase -- this time on electricity generated by its wind farms.

X-cel wants to nearly double the premium customers pay to be part of the "Windsource" program.

Energy consumers who want to encourage the growth of wind power pay a premium of 76 cents per 100 kilowatt hours -- on top of the base rate of $6.10 per kilowatt hour.

X-cel wants to raise the premium to $1.44 per kilowatt hour. Officials say the rate hike would help cover the rising costs of wind turbines and other equipment.

But critics say wind energy is becoming more economically competitive with natural gas and coal.

The state Public Utilities Commission is expected to rule on the proposed increase by February.

Minneapolis-based X-cel is Colorado's largest electricity provider.