Xcel Energy may be discriminating against Colorado solar panel owners, and state regulators want answers

Michael Booth
The Colorado Sun
Solar panels are seen on the house of Sloan Lake resident Paul Aldretti on July 14, 2022.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America

Those speaking for tens of thousands of Colorado solar panel owners found it blindingly unfair that Xcel Energy could charge customers 17 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity at the same time it was paying solar homeowners only 8 cents an hour to generate it

Staff at the Public Utilities Commission thought so, too. 

Now the Public Utilities Commission staff is asking the commissioners this week to declare whether Xcel has the right to keep delaying installation of the smart meters solar owners need to get paid or charged fairly, and whether Xcel should be compensating the homeowners for any money they lose in the years-long wait. 

The detailed 21-page request by the Public Utilities Commission staff warns the state could lose ground promoting more clean solar generation if potential customers are wary of Xcel and “know the proverbial rug might be pulled out from under them due to problems over which they have no control.”

Xcel for two years neglected to tell the Public Utilities Commission that new “time of use” rates tracked on smart meters were too complex for the company’s old billing software, so that solar customers could not benefit from smart meters before 2023, the staff filing says. 


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