Xcel Rate Increase

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Xcel Energy bills are going up.

The average residential customer will pay 36 cents more a month on their energy bills next month to finance a solar panel rebate program.

A law approved by voters in 2004 requires utility companies to buy ten percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015.

At least four percent of that total must be from solar power.

Xcel had asked for permission to charge one percent of customer bills to finance the rebates and other renewable-energy projects but state regulators yesterday approved six-tenths of one percent.

Under the program, about three-thousand customers will get rebates for installing solar panels in the next nine years based on the amount expected to be raised through the extra charge.