Xcel exec says Minnesota attorney general misunderstands situation

Sept. 4, 2002 — An Xcel Energy executive released a statement Tuesday that the Minnesota attorney general was mistaken about his recent filing regarding Xcel’s subsidiary.

Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch had sent a letter to the board members of Xcel Energy recommending that they fire CEO Wayne Brunetti and also filed a complaint with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

In the letter, Hatch said that he has “no confidence” in Brunetti and that Xcel’s efforts to strengthen the cash position of subsidiary NRG Energy Inc. could result in higher rates for Minnesota electricity consumers.

But Gary Johnson, Xcel Energy’s VP and General Counsel, said that Hatch is mistaken about the situation.

“We have reviewed the assertions in Minnesota Attorney General Michael Hatch’s filing today with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The assertions are almost identical to the issues raised in his Aug. 28 letter to each member of Xcel Energy’s board of directors,” commented Johnson.

“The attorney general again asserts no potential wrongdoing or improper activity. It appears that with the benefit of hindsight, he is substituting his business judgment for the decision of Xcel Energy’s board of directors and management.

“We have offered in all of our meetings with the attorney general to provide any information and interviews he wants. We have continually emphasized the financial problems at NRG Energy will not have any negative effect whatsoever on the customers of Xcel Energy’s regulated subsidiary, Northern States Power Co.

“We look forward to correcting the attorney general’s misunderstanding of certain fundamental facts concerning Xcel Energy, NSP and NRG.

“The attorney general said previously his concern with Xcel Energy was corporate governance. No corporate governance principle and none of the attorney general’s legal authority authorize the attorney general to insert himself in board decisions involving personnel evaluation/retention, dividend payments and asset disposition.”

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in 12 Western and Midwestern states. Formed by the merger of Denver-based New Century Energies and Minneapolis-based Northern States Power Co., Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.2 million electricity customers and 1.7 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. In terms of customers, it is the fourth-largest combination natural gas and electricity company in the nation. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.

Source: Xcel Energy Inc.

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