Xcel rate bill now only requires company to work with PUC

A bill that originally attempted to alter or eliminate Xcel Energy’s summer tiered-rate system was turned into a study of the matter Wednesday.

Because of opposition to the bill, Rep. Ray Scott got the House Transportation Committee to change it to have Xcel report to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on whether the rate system has worked to reduce electrical use during summer peak times. The bill requires the PUC to report Xcel’s findings to the Legislature.

Last summer, Xcel began charging its 1.1 million customers its normal 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 500 hours they use a month between June and September. It increased the rate by 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity used over that.

Scott, a Grand Junction Republican, argued the 500-kilowatt cutoff is too low and is costing consumers more as a result. Opponents argue the opposite, saying 70 percent of Xcel’s customers are below that cutoff point.

Under Xcel’s tiered system, a consumer who uses 500 kilowatt hours would pay $23 a month, but someone who uses twice as much would pay three times more, or $68.

The bill, which passed on a 7–6 party-line vote with Republicans favoring it, heads to the House for more debate.


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