Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Xcel Energy Wants Customers To Pay $1.1M For Private Jets: Planes Part Of $142M Rate Increase

Colorado regulators are questioning Xcel Energy's use of private jets while seeking a rate increase from customers.

The Minneapolis-based utility is seeking $1.1 million for use of its two corporate jets as part of a $142 million electricity-rate increase. According to the Denver Post, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff says ratepayers shouldn't pick up the tab.

The cost of operating one of the leased, eight-seat jets is more than $4,600 an hour. "The company's ratepayers do not benefit by these two employees commuting via the two corporate jets to their primary place of employment," a staff review said.

 The company responded in an email saying it saves time and money by not using commercial flights.

If the $142 million rate increase is approved, monthly bills for most residential customers would increase by about 6 percent or $4.01 a month. The average bill for commercial customers would go up about 4.83 percent or $5.30.The commission said more than half of the proposed increase is due to the loss of the Black Hills Electric wholesale contract, which expired at the end of 2011. The company also blames increases in property taxes.The company also is seeking to recover recent investments in the electric distribution system, costs associated with efforts to improve the state’s air quality, and a $10 million plan to clear and remove trees killed by the mountain pine beetle from around Xcel’s transmission and distribution lines.


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