PUC to take public comment on Xcel Energy electric rate proposal

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will take public comment in Grand Junction and Denver on a proposal by Xcel Energy to increase its electric rates by a net $153.8 million.

Public comment hearings will be from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Mesa County Commissioners Public Hearing Room, 544 Rood Avenue in Grand Junction; and 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the PUC, 1560 Broadway, Suite 250, in Denver.

The company’s proposal would increase monthly bills for residential customers by about $4.46 a month on an annual basis, or about 6.5 percent. Monthly bills for commercial customers would rise by $6.75, or about 6.7 percent.

A main driver of the proposed rate increase, according to Xcel, is $4.1 billion of investment that the company has made in the last five years, including investments in next-generation technology to strengthen and improve the resiliency of the electric grid. Additional components of the proposal include accelerating wildfire safety, prevention and mitigation efforts and upgrading infrastructure to reduce the risk of damage due to wildfires; and an initiative to help communities and businesses achieve their sustainability goals through better tracking of their use of renewable energy.

Xcel is seeking a 10.35 percent return on equity (ROE), up from the current 9.83 percent. The ROE is the profit that a utility is authorized to earn on its investments. The PUC sets a maximum ROE, but it is not guaranteed.

An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4-8 and 12-13 at the PUC. The company is looking for new rates to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Members of the public may submit written comments about the proposal by using the PUC’s on-line comment form at www.colorado.gov/pacific/puc/puccomments

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