ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Commerce says Xcel Energy doesn't need the large rate increases it's seeking over the next two years.

The department's Office of Energy Security is recommending state regulators knock 62 percent off Xcel's proposed $150 million increase for electric service in 2011. It also says Xcel's requested $198 million hike in 2012 should be trimmed by 54 percent.

The Commerce Department looked at Xcel's costs for capital, wages and legal expenses and found the company overestimated costs and underestimated revenue in 2011.

The state and Xcel will take their cases to the Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to make a rate decision by the end of the year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)