A significant win for utility consumers

Order in rate case to lower the amount Xcel can charge consumers for natural gas, a decision AARP fought for on behalf of all Coloradans

The three Colorado Public Utilities Commissioners have upheld the recommended decision of Administrative Law Judge Conor Farley in the Xcel gas rate case, which lowers what the company, also known as Public Service Company of Colorado, can bill consumers for natural gas.

This ruling supports the advocacy in the case by AARP on behalf of its nearly 700,000 Colorado members, as well as all older adults and their families.

“The decision is a win for consumers,” said Bill Levis, AARP lead advocate in utilities, retired from the Colorado Consumer Counsel.

PUC commissioners Jeffrey Ackermann, Frances Koncilja and Wendy Moser denied Xcel’s request for a multi-year plan that would have allowed the company to raise consumer rates automatically every year for three years without a public hearing.

Xcel requested a plan to raise rates yearly without going to the commission.   

“This is significant in part because unlike in Minnesota where Xcel is headquartered, Colorado does not have a specific statute allowing multi-year plans,” Levis said.

In rejecting Xcel’s request for a multi-year plan, the commissioners gave the company detailed guidance as to what it would need to file in such a case in the future. The PUC also upheld the ALJ’s recommendation to lower the current 9.5 percent return on equity to 9.35 percent. Xcel had requested 10 percent. A written order is expected by Aug. 1.

“The commissioners’ decision reaffirms a big win for Colorado rate payers,” said Bob Murphy, AARP state director.