Skip to comments.Xcel will raise electric bills again next month. A quarter of the hike will cover closing coal-fired power plants.
Posted on 08/17/2023 7:08:00 AM PDT by george76
The utility’s 1.6 million Colorado customers will see their bills rise 4.4% — about $4 on the average residential bill — on Sept. 1
lectricity bills for 1.6 million Colorado customers of Xcel Energy will rise 4.4% — about $3.99 on the average residential bill — on Sept. 1, under a settlement approved Wednesday by the state Public Utilities Commission.
In 2022, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity supplier, filed for a $312 million rate hike, but under the settlement it will get an increase of $96 million.
The reduced revenue figure was reached in a settlement between Xcel Energy and state agencies and major industrial and commercial customers.
That follows a $182 million rate increase in April 2022, which raised the average electricity bill $5.24 a month, or about 6.4%.
The September rate increase could have been even smaller under a proposal made by the state Office of Utility Consumer Advocate that would have deferred $48 million in costs associated with closing five coal-fired power plants until the last plant, Comanche 3, in Pueblo, is shuttered in 2031.
When Comanche 3 closes, all the costs could be rolled into a securitized bond, which would be a cheaper way to pay off the closures.
The PUC staff opposed the financial mechanism, arguing that it was pushing current costs onto future ratepayers and that there was insufficient financial analysis. The commission agreed.
“It is a creative attempt,” PUC Chairman Eric Blank said. “The proposal is underdeveloped.”
Where does affordability fit in..
The decision to add the coal cost adds about $1.09 a month to average monthly bills.
“Even though it is a small amount, it adds up when you add it to all the other increases people are facing,” said Cindy Schonhaut, director of the consumer advocate office. “The commission rejecting our proposal on coal assets ends up with us at the status quo.”
“We have a history with this commission of knocking down everything we propose,” Schonhaut said. “So the question is where does affordability fit in?”
In February, Gov. Jared Polis sent a letter to state energy officials and utility executives to take every possible action to reduce utility bills.
“The commission has been directed by the governor as the rest of us have to consider affordability,” Schonhaut said. “It behooves the commission to come up with their own plan for affordability rather than just criticizing others.”
In approving the rate hike, the commissioners did express concerns about some Xcel Energy performance and cost issues that surfaced during the rate hearings.
“I am very troubled by the Cabin Creek performance,” Commissioner Cynthia Gilman said. “There is an ongoing issue of performance analysis.”
Cabin Creek is a hydropower facility above Georgetown that was supposed to be in service in 2020, but has suffered repeated construction and operational problems.
Xcel Energy estimated the cost of the Cabin Creek project at $88 million. As of Dec. 31, Xcel had spent approximately $78.1 million, or 88%, of the budget, but is now projecting the project will cost $98.6 million.
Blank said he was troubled by more than $289 million in higher costs for eight projects from Xcel Energy’s initial estimates bringing to total $544 million — a 109% increase.
Xcel Energy said those initial project estimates are merely markers and that a true assessment of costs comes when the utility applies for permission to build the project.
“There are huge cost overruns and huge performance problems,” Blank said. “When the company wins, ratepayers should win … that clearly didn’t happen here.”
Colorado Ping ( Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)
Deep State’s war on the middle class is proceeding apace.
Everything is rising in price to unaffordable levels - food, utilities, housing, medical costs and combine that with services being cut, immigrants being given the keys to cities and their housing, medical and food expenses are paid in full. All while violent criminals are being encouraged to roam cities looking for victims.
Thank a democrat.
Jared Schutz Polis’ ( and his husband) goal of 100% renewable energy is to crush working Americans- to freeze in the dark.. with unreliable and expensive energy - that does not work 24-7..
The letter after the name means jack anymore.
The only reason political parties still exist is to give voters the illusion of choice.
A pol is either loyal to our former republic or to Deep State.
And two many pols of BOTH parties are Deep State.
They’re just stooges.
Deep State’s frontmen are stupid.
The people hiding behind them are not.
very cold places closing things that will keep them warm...
many will die next winter...
All as planned.
Higher food prices and lower availability of food - Democrats want to kill family ranchers and family farmers with imported , not native, huge, not endangered wolf packs from Canada.
This must be more of that “Bidenomics” that I keep hearing about that is working so well for the Average American.
This is the wrong answer.
While Coloradans see energy bills rise, Xcel Energy top executives take home millions in bonuses each year.
The utility company boasted of record profits at a recent shareholder meeting.
Ya gets what ya votes fer.
Nothing says clean government like outlawing audits.. Colorado Secretary of State : Mohamed Enab’s wife : Jena Griswold unilaterally banned election audits..
Of course. Why shouldn't the consumer pay for their stupid business decisions?
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