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    Customers in Minnesota who receive their electricity from utility Xcel Energy may soon be paying electricity rates that could be as much as 10 percent higher than current prices, ABC affiliate 5 News reports.

    According to the media outlet, Xcel recently went before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to request a hike that would raise base rates by $285 million. The utility stated it is seeking the higher rates to "preserve and expand operations of its nuclear plants and electricity grid."

    Northern States Power Company Minnesota CEO Judy Poferl stated the company has already invested more than $1 billion every year to make energy delivery services cleaner, more reliable and safer than ever. In doing so, however, she stated that the company will need more funds to maintain such reliable infrastructure.

    The media outlet reported the rates would help pay to keep the Monticello and Prairie Island Nuclear plants operational, as well as boost output from the Monticello plant. The request, which includes raising $40 million through higher property taxes, will also be used to pay for better transmission and distribution equipment.

    Across the country, utilities are performing smart grid infrastructure upgrades, which although are crucial for reliability, may not lead to the best electricity rates for customers.