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DATE: February 26, 2004

Contact Person: Sue Schaefer, Information Officer
Contact Phone: 605-773-3201

PUC to hold Public Meeting on Xcel Energy Construction Plans

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will host a public meeting on March 4th, 2004, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Cataract Room of the Sheraton Hotel in Sioux Falls. PUC commissioners and Xcel Energy representatives will be on hand to discuss the company's notice of intent to construct a third natural gas combustion turbine at the Angus C. Anson site.

"Receiving input from the customers Xcel serves and others in the area will give the Commission a clearer picture of the public's true sentiment regarding this project," said PUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "It is always good to hear from those who will be directly affected. People need to be confident that they have a voice in this proceeding and we want to have their input."

"On its face, the project looks to have some very good economic benefits and should increase the overall reliability of Xcel's operations in the Upper Midwest," said PUC Chairman Bob Sahr. "However, we will review the proposal carefully keeping the public's interest in mind."

"Xcel has indicated that they plan to demonstrate that no significant change will occur, and that in many respects, impacts of the new unit will be less than originally estimated," said Commissioner Jim Burg. "That is the reason for the public meeting. To see if those affected agree."

It is estimated that property taxes to be collected from Xcel for the new natural gas turbine unit will be approximately $690,000 per year. Sales tax collections will total close to $1.3 million during construction. Xcel estimates it will cost $64 million to complete construction of the new natural gas combustion turbine. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin this summer and the unit placed into service during the summer of 2005.

Xcel completed the authorization process necessary for construction of four natural gas combustion turbines at the Angus Anson site more than four years ago. Due to the time lapse in completing the initial authorization process and beginning construction of the third turbine, South Dakota law requires that Xcel must certify to the PUC that this facility continues to meet the conditions upon which the permit was issued.

For additional information on the meeting, please contact the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at 1-800-382-1782. The public is encouraged to attend.

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