AARP Colorado Continues to Challenge Xcel’s Proposed Rate Hikes
Xcel has proposed a settlement that reduces the company’s initial base rate increase request from $312 million, later lowered to $258 million, to as low as $45 million, a reduction of about 86%, depending on two issues to be resolved that could double the increase.
As a result, the average monthly increase for residential consumers would range between $1.54 and $2.90 beginning in September.
However, AARP is concerned that the company has no disincentive not to continually file rate cases. Xcel has filed three electric and two natural gas base rate cases in the last five years in addition to numerous other requests for additional revenue. This is one reason why the city of Boulder opposed the settlement in addition to the proposed 10.25% return on equity (ROE). The proposed settlement keeps the ROE at 9.3%.
In the latest electric rate case, the company filed the testimony of 19 witnesses in its rebuttal case, the same number in total as the numerous intervenors, including the PUC trial staff, the Utility Consumer Advocate, Colorado Energy Consumers and Federal Executive Agencies. What is most frustrating for consumers is that they must pay for Xcel to make its various filings at the Commission – in this case $2 million. The Commission should consider limiting Xcel’s ability to bring case after case.
In the present proceeding, no. 22AL-0530, the PUC will review the settlement agreement this month and will allow consumers to comment on the proposal at a remote public comment hearing from 4-6 p.m. on July 11.
Xcel consumers get information on how to participate at puc.colorado.gov/puccalendar. In addition, public comments can be provided at any time until a decision is issued in September. Written comments can be submitted through the PUC’s electronic filing system at www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI.homepage or using the Commission’s online form or through email at email@example.com. Written comments may be mailed to the PUC at Colorado Public Utilities Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 250, Denver, CO 80202, or oral comments can be left in English or Spanish at 303-869-3490.