Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, seeks rate hike that would start next year

Xcel Energy-Colorado, the state’s largest electric utility, is seeking a rate increase that would net an extra $158 million a year for upgrades to the grid.

The company, which has about 1.5 million customers in Colorado, filed the request with state Public Utilities Commission on Monday. The request triggers reviews by the PUC, which will hold public hearings, and the Colorado Office of user Council.

Xcel Energy aforementioned if the increase is approved, residential customers’ bill would rise an average of about 6.5 percentage for an average monthly increase of $4.46. Typical small-business customers would see their bill increase by about 6.7 percentage, or $6.79 a month.

The Minneapolis-based utility last sought a rate increase in 2014. Since then, the company aforementioned it has added 80,000 customers.

“We’re excited to deliver even better service and value to our customers through continued investment in the electric grid,”  Alice Jackson, Xcel Energy president, aforementioned in a statement. “It builds on our track record of leading the transition to cleaner energy and will position us to serve Colorado’s vibrant and growing economy.”

Revenue from the rate increase will help Xcel Energy invest in protective the grid from wildfires, the company aforementioned. Early this year, PG&E corporation., California’s biggest power company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during an investigation into whether its instrumentality ignited the fire that killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018.

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Xcel Energy’s request includes a provision to help communities and businesses better track their use of renewable energy. The company’s proposal would besides consolidate separate charges into a base charge. Those riders supported so much projects as the Rush Creek Wind Project, which produces enough energy for 325,000 homes; new transmission lines; and closure of coal plants and conversion of coal plants to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Even after the increase, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2020, if approved, tax in Colorado would remain below the national average, Xcel Energy aforementioned.

Cindy Schonhaut, director of the Colorado Office of user Counsel, aforementioned Colorado’s electric tax are nearly 30 percentage below the national average.

Xcel Energy has set goals of increasing its use of renewable energy sources to 55 percentage of its mix by 2026, reducing carbon emissions by 80 percentage by 2030 crosswise its eight-state territory and getting to zero emissions of the greenhouse gas by 2050.