DENVER — A potential step to reign in some skyrocketing utility bills could soon result in Xcel Energy natural gas customers seeing around a 15 percent reduction in their monthly bill.
Relief couldn’t come soon enough for customers who have reported bills that have doubled or even tripled this winter.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, approved on Monday a request from Xcel Energy for a reduction in the gas cost adjustment which it says will lower bills for gas customers by around 15 percent, according to a release.
The adjustment will impact residential and small commercial natural gas customers. Xcel customers started seeing higher rates around November 2022 at the same time the utility was seeing massive profits.
Xcel Energy reported a net income, or profit, of $1.74 billion in 2022, which was an 8.7% increase over the previous year. During the past decade, Xcel’s profits have nearly doubled. In 2012, the company reported a profit of $905 million for the calendar year.
Denver7 reported this past week that Xcel Chairman, President and CEO Bob Frenzel in a statement said the company delivered earnings of $3.17 per share and noted this is the 18th consecutive year that the company has met or beat its financial projections.
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“Xcel Energy also delivered strong reliability for our customers and communities in 2022 despite increasingly volatile weather causing high energy demand events during hotter-than-normal summers in Colorado and the Upper Midwest, and Winter Storm Elliott which knocked out critical electric and gas service across the country,” he said.
The main driver for the jump was an increase in natural gas prices.
In the application document Xcel lays out how the reduction would impact customers.
‘Residential natural gas bills would decrease by $11.92 per month to $75.03, or by 13.71 percent, based on an annualized average monthly usage of 62.9 therms. Typical small-business natural gas bills would decrease by $54.86 per month to $316.79, or by 14.76 percent, based on an annualized average monthly usage of 289.5 therms.’
PUC has received many written comments about the strain higher energy bills are having on customers and has set up a two-part public hearing on utility bill affordability Tuesday for the public to voice concerns.
The first session is from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the second half follows at 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Customers wanting to join and share their concerns on the remote hearing must register at the following links:
You can read the full application here.