Utility seeking Texas rate increase

CNJ staff

Xcel Energy’s Texas-based operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, is seeking a 7 percent overall retail rate increase in Texas to recover recent investments in the power lines, substations and workforce.

Riley Hill, president and CEO of SPS, said the increase in rates is needed because the regional economy is changing and growing, and requires greater investment in the power grid.

The request does not affect Xcel’s New Mexico customers, spokesman Wes Reeves said.

In a proposal filed Monday at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and with each of the 80 municipalities Xcel Energy serves in Texas, the company seeks a residential base rate increase of 21 percent.

Because a monthly bill is made up of both base rate charges and fuel charges, the net effect on the overall bill would be a 10.7 percent increase, or $8.89, for a customer using 1,000 kilowatts per month.

Reeves said a look at New Mexico rates is possible around 2011. The company typically looks at rate increases on a biannual basis — Texas in even-numbered years and New Mexico in odd-numbered years.

“It’s hard to look at both states at the same time,” Reeves said. “It takes a lot of resources.”