Xcel proposes energy efficiency program | AspenTimes.com

Xcel proposes energy efficiency program

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Xcel Energy has proposed a $138 million program to cut Colorado’s energy demand by providing rebates and incentives to customers for energy efficient appliances and practices.

The plan, announced Monday, would be financed by a surcharge on customers’ monthly bills next year and in 2010.

Xcel called the plan the first step in a program to manage demand. Officials said the plan would bring together the utility, customers and businesses that haven’t traditionally been asked to conserve.

“This is the next step in the implementation of the new energy economy in Colorado through conservation and efficiency programs,” said Fred Stoffel, the company’s vice president of marketing.

Xcel estimates the plan will save 425 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over two years, enough for roughly 28,000 residential customers.

The plan could also cut natural-gas use by a total of 721,000 dekatherms in 2009 and 2010, or the enough to heat about 444,000 homes for two years.

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If state regulators approve the plan, Xcel said an average residential electric bill would increase by $1.16 per month. Monthly bills for the average small-business customer would rise by $2.03.

Typical natural-gas bills would increase 78 cents per month for residences and $1.26 per month for small businesses.

“This is a major advance in Xcel’s energy-efficiency programs,” said Howard Geller, executive director of the Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “The two-year proposal should save consumers and businesses over $500 million net while reducing fuel use and cutting pollutant emissions.”

Geller’s estimate includes savings from the programs and avoiding the construction costs of new power plants. Xcel said the program could cut the need for 120 megawatts of new power.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy is Colorado’s largest electric and natural-gas utility with 1.6 million customers