Xcel seeks electric rate increase in Colorado | AspenTimes.com

Xcel seeks electric rate increase in Colorado

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Xcel Energy asked Colorado regulators Friday for an electric rate increase of about $5.13 a month for a typical residential customer, a jump of 8.4 percent.

The proposal, totaling $175 million, came amid a severe economic downturn, and the company expected opposition.

“We would not ask for an increase unless it was truly needed,” said Tim Taylor, president and CEO of Xcel’s Colorado unit.

The company said it needs to keep spending on infrastructure even during tough times so the state will be ready when the economy recovers.

Xcel said the increase would start next summer if approved by the state Public Utilities Commission. A spokeswoman for the PUC didn’t immediately return a call.

Xcel said it needs the money to add generating capacity, cut pollution and make its system more reliable.

The utility said its latest proposal would increase a typical residential bill to $66.31 a month based on using 625 kilowatt-hours.

It would mean a monthly increase of $7.84 or 8 percent for small businesses, to $105.83, based on using 1,025 kilowatt-hours.

Minneapolis-based Xcel, Colorado’s largest utility, said its rate hike request includes:

– Some of the costs of a 750-megawatt expansion of the coal-fired Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo.

– Costs for two new natural gas-fired generating units at the Fort St. Vrain Generating Station in Platteville, which total 300 megawatts.

– “Significant investment” in distribution systems in Colorado.

Xcel said its last rate increase was in 2006 and increased typical bills for residential and small-business by 7.7 percent.

Taylor said that between that rate increase and the end of next year, the company will spend nearly $1.7 billion in major electricity infrastructure.

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