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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Governor finds that Xcel Energy can recover $509 million in hurricane costs from customers

An administrative law judge is recommending that Xcel Energy-Colorado be allowed to recover approximately $509 million from customers for costs from the 2021 winter storm, prompting Gov. to balance the loss”.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will decide whether the state’s largest electric utility, Xcel Energy, can pass on some of the costs to customers’ bills through a temporary monthly fee. The company has proposed to extend the payment to 24 months for electricity and 30 months for natural gas.

Utilities in Colorado and the region were hit by extreme natural gas prices in mid-February 2021, when temperatures dropped below zero for several days from Texas to Colorado and the Midwest. According to the decision of Administrative Law Judge Melody Mirbaba, gas prices increased from $2 to $3 per thermal unit to $150 to $190 per thermal unit.

Mirbaba said in the decision issued on Wednesday that Xcel Energy has attempted to minimize the impact on ratepayers and has taken prudent measures during the storm “although the cost was extraordinary.”

However, Polis said he is disappointed that Colorado consumers will see their bills increase. The additional cost could have been avoided by better early warnings of an impending storm and systems by having people voluntarily reduce their energy use, he said in a statement Friday.

“This decision acknowledges that Xcel did not properly prepare or warn Coloradans before the storm, yet consumers are now literally forced to pay the price,” Polis said.

If the PUC accepts the judge’s recommendation, residential electricity customers will see a monthly increase of $1.43 for 24 months and residential natural gas customers will see an increase of $5.67 per month for 30 months, said Michelle, a spokeswoman for Xcel Energy. Leaders said in an email.

“We believe that the judge’s recommended decision to approve a proposal that mitigates the cost impact of Winter Storm Uri on our customers is fair, reasonable and in line with the law,” Aguayo said.

He said the company worked with a diverse group of stakeholders, including the governor’s office, on a plan to mitigate the effects from the cost of the historic storm.

The Colorado Office of Utility Consumer Advocates will present its objections to the judge’s recommendation with the PUC, said director Cindy Schonhout. It is not clear when the PUC can take a decision.

Schonhout’s office said the $509 million should be reduced by anywhere from $50 million to $150 million because Xcel Energy didn’t take some steps to prepare for snow and ice storms. This includes communicating better with customers so that they can cut back on electricity and gas usage.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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