AARP advocacy results in big win for consumers before the Colorado PUC
In a major victory for consumers, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) lowered Xcel’s return on equity (ROE) from its current 9.83 percent to 9.3 percent effective January 1, 2020, based on the position of AARP and other interveners in the company’s latest electric rate case.
In May, Xcel originally asked for an ROE of 10.35 percent, which it lowered to 10.20 percent in its rebuttal case filed in October. The company initially had asked that its rate be increased $158 million, which it lowered to $108 million in its rebuttal filing. The Commission’s decision will result in an increase of approximately $41.5 million, 26 percent of the company’s original request.
Xcel has about 1.25 million residential customers in Colorado, many of whom are low income or 50 and older. The average residential electric bill increase should be between $1 and $2 a month or $12 to $24 annually.
AARP also was one of the parties that entered into a settlement with Xcel, which the PUC approved, to mitigate the fire damage around the company’s utility lines. Fires around utility lines have become a major concern, especially in California. The agreement lowered the cost to consumers in protecting those lines.
AARP has more than 670,000 members in Colorado who are 50 and older. AARP Colorado is active in advocating on behalf of its members before the PUC, other regulatory agencies and the General Assembly in the state.