4 Colorado electric co-ops want repayment after Xcel Energy allegedly mishandled gas supply during a deep freeze

Xcel appears to have directed its own natural gas supply to meet reserve requirements rather than generate power during 2021 storm

Mark Jaffe
The Colorado Sun
Smoke from the Sunshine Canyon fire flows in the foothills behind the Valmont Generating Station, one of Xcel Energy's natural-gas powered electric plants.
Steve Peterson/Special to The Colorado Sun

Four Colorado electric cooperatives that buy wholesale power from Xcel Energy have filed a complaint with federal regulators contending the state’s largest electricity provider mismanaged its natural gas supplies during a severe 2021 winter storm.

The co-ops maintain that Xcel Energy was “imprudent” by failing to follow its own supply plans leading to the utility having to buy high-priced gas on the spot market during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. 

The four — Core Electric Cooperative, Holy Cross Energy, Yampa Electric and Grand Valley Power — are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order the return of $6.9 million in fuel charges.

“We have serious concerns that a substantial portion of Xcel’s fuel costs were entirely avoidable,” Grand Valley Power CEO Tom Walch said in a statement.

“We feel we have a duty to our members, the ones who ultimately pay Xcel’s charges, to challenge these costs. It is especially critical for us to protect our members from preventable runaway costs coming from future weather events.” Walch said.

The four cooperatives collectively provide electricity to 570,000 people in predominantly rural parts of the state, such as Mesa, Garfield and Moffat counties. Core serves nearly 170,000 customers in rural and suburban Front Range communities.

Read more at the Colorado Sun.

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