AMARILLO, Texas– Xcel Energy is seeking a base rate increase for Texas retail customers to support the cost of generating and delivering energy critical to the growth of area communities and the economies that sustain them.
A proposal presented today to the 79 Texas towns and cities served by the company, and to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), seeks to boost revenue by $90.2 million per year. Impacts on each customer class vary, but for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, the increase would average $6.61 per month, or 7.3 percent, with fuel costs factored in. For all customer classes combined, the total increase is 12 percent accounting for base rates and fuel costs.
“The economy of the Texas Panhandle and South Plains continues to outpace national economic growth,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. “Our customers expect us to invest wisely to modernize and upgrade our system to meet this growing demand and provide the reliable service necessary to sustain economic growth. This case is largely driven by these investments, which provide great value to our customers over the long term.
“In addition to the value our customers will see, the investments also provide value to the communities we serve in the form of job growth and increased property and sales tax revenues paid by the company,” Hill added.
Current rates are based on what it cost to run the system in 2009, Hill said. Since that time, the company has invested $702 million to build new sources of power generation, new substations and new transmission and distribution lines. Between the summer of 2010 and the summer of 2012, peak electricity demand increased by almost 10 percent.
Even with higher base rates, overall bills should remain below 2008 levels, and Xcel Energy continues to rank as one of the lowest-cost electricity providers in the state, Hill said.
Natural gas is used to generate more than half the power consumed across the region, and prices for this commodity have fallen sharply over the past four years, leading to significant savings on monthly bills. So far this year, Xcel Energy has lowered fuel costs twice, saving typical residential customers close to $10 a month, Hill said. “Nonetheless, we understand the impact of this proposed increase on our customers, and we offer an extensive suite of programs to help manage and decrease energy needs,” Hill said. “While all customers contribute to the costs of keeping our system safe and reliable, customers can reduce their individual costs by participating in these energy efficiency programs. Combined, these efforts help us strike a reasonable balance between the need to invest in our system and the need to ensure competitive rates and bills.”
Customers may find more information on these money-saving programs at www.xcelenergy.com on the “save energy and money” tab, or by calling a customer representative at 1-800-895-4999.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.