Denver, Colorado 2022-05-13 18:56:43 –
Governor Jared Polis told utilities “consumers” in response to an administrative law judge’s recommendation to allow Xcel Energy-Colorado to recover approximately $ 509 million from customers at the expense of the 2021 winter storm. Behind the scenes of balancing their financial losses. “
The Colorado Public Utility Commission decides whether Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility, can pass on some of its costs through a one-time monthly fee for a customer’s invoice. The company proposes to extend electricity payments to 24 months and natural gas payments to 30 months.
Colorado and region-wide utilities Midway hit by exorbitant natural gas prices February 2021 When temperatures from Texas to Colorado to the Midwest have been below zero for several days. According to Administrative Law Judge Melody Milbaba’s decision, gas prices soared from $ 2 to $ 3 per calorie unit to $ 150 to $ 190 per calorie unit.
In a decision released Wednesday, Mr. Milbaba said Xcel Energy tried to mitigate the impact on payers and took prudent measures “even if costs were unusual” during the storm.
But Police said Colorado consumers were disappointed to see the increase in bills. He said in a statement on Friday that a better early warning of the upcoming storm and a system for people to voluntarily reduce their energy use could have avoided extra costs.
“This ruling admits that Xcel did not properly prepare or warn Coloradans before the storm, but consumers are literally forced to pay,” Polis said.
If PUC accepts the judge’s recommendation, Xcel Energy spokesman said residential electricity customers will see an increase of $ 1.43 per month for 24 months and natural gas customers will see an increase of $ 5.67 per month for 30 months. Person Michelle Aguayo said in an email.
“We believe the judge’s decision to approve a proposal that minimizes the impact of WinterStorm Uri’s costs on customers is reasonable, appropriate and compliant,” Aguayo said. increase.
She added that the company worked with a group of various stakeholders, including the Governor’s Office, to plan to reduce the impact of the costs of the historic storm.
The Colorado office of utility consumer advocates will file opposition to the judge’s recommendation with PUC, said director Cindy Shonhout. It is unknown when the PUC will make the decision.
Schonhaut’s office needs to reduce $ 509 million from $ 50 million to $ 150 million as Xcel Energy did not take the necessary steps to prepare for ice and snow storms. Said. This includes improving customer communication and reducing electricity and gas usage.
It was the weekend of the 2021 President’s Day holiday that was struck by bad weather.
Xcel Energy has contracts with larger industrial customers that allow utilities to suspend services in an emergency to save energy. However, Schonhaut said some of the entities covered by the agreement could not be out of service because they could threaten public safety.
The judge’s decision referred to some of what Schonhaut called careless actions by Xcel Energy, but did not reduce the amount of money that could be recovered from customers.
Consumer advocates’ offices have been critical of recent billing from Xcel Energy. The power company said a $ 182 million increase in electricity prices, which came into effect on April 1, will help pay for previously approved projects and prevent wildfires due to power line downs.
An agreement between the utility and some of the parties involved in the proceedings requires Xcel Energy to refrain from any costs that it may seek to recover, such as funding costs.
Governor blasts finding that Xcel Energy can recover $509M in storm costs from customers Source link Governor blasts finding that Xcel Energy can recover $509M in storm costs from customers