Xcel Energy can recover $509 million from consumer bills after February 2021 storm, judge rules

Average home impact will be an 11% boost for gas, 2% for electricity in coming years, even though the ruling says the utility could have done more to warn consumers

Michael Booth
The Colorado Sun

Xcel can recover $509 million from customers in coming months’ bills to pay for surging natural gas costs during the southwestern freeze in February 2021, an administrative law judge ruled this week, despite finding the utility should have warned consumers to cut usage and save money during the storm.

The Colorado Office of Utility Consumer Advocate will file another round of objections before the Public Utilities Commission takes a final vote on the recovery plan but is not optimistic the PUC will make significant changes to the award.

Xcel said Thursday the impact for the average residential customer will be about $5.67 per month for natural gas, or an 11% boost; and $1.43 per month, a 2% increase, for electricity. The gas surcharge will run for 30 months, and the electricity surcharge will run for 24 months. Colorado utilities have the right to pass through fuel cost changes to consumers, though the requests go through a review.

The consumer advocate asked the judge to dock Xcel, the state’s largest utility with 1 million customers, for failing to warn consumers to cut use during the storm, and for failing to plan better by hedging gas prices and storing cheaper gas ahead of time. The advocate wanted $130 million shaved from Xcel’s request.

Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.

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