Xcel’s request for rate hike draws fire | SummitDaily.com

Xcel’s request for rate hike draws fire

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER ” Xcel Energy’s request to increase rates to recoup $159.3 million spent on power plants and equipment is drawing fire from an activist and the state’s consumer counsel.

Xcel Energy has asked the state Public Utilities Commission for an increase that would raise residential rates by about $4.50 per month and small business rates about $7 per month.

The Minneapolis-based utility says it invested in a coal plant, two natural gas plants, power lines and other equipment to improve the reliability of its electric service and that recovering the costs is justified.

Leslie Glustrom of Clean Energy Actions questions the request at a time when Xcel’s net income has risen $100 million in two years.

Net income at Public Service of Colorado, an Xcel subsidiary, rose from $241.4 million in 2006 to $339.8 million in 2008.

Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Henley said the utility wants to cover costs projected for this year. He said the coal and natural gas plants will help meet demand during peak periods and back up such variable renewable energy sources as wind.

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“We feel we have filed the accurate costs,” Henley said.