LETTERS: RE: Xcel customers losing the monopoly game

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EDITOR: Colorado is one of 21 states in which consumers have no choice in energy provider. Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based public utility, enjoys near-monopolistic power in Colorado as a result of this arrangement.

Colorado ratepayers today pay 62 percent more in monthly utility bills than they did 14 years ago, which is much higher than the rate of inflation. Some Xcel customers pay even more. Last summer, Xcel announced it would be shuttering two of the state’s most productive, lowest-cost power plants in favor of installing pricey new wind farms. As the Independence Institute has noted, this would be terrific for Xcel’s executives and shareholders, but disastrous for Xcel captive customers.

On August 1, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission will hear Xcel’s case for shutting down two of Colorado’s best power plants well ahead of their scheduled retirement. They must reject Xcel’s proposed action. Additional increases on Coloradans’ energy bills would disproportionately affect lower-income residents, effectively making this a question of whether or not poor people should further subsidize Wall Street banks. The commission’s “no” decision should be a no-brainer.

All Coloradans deserve affordable energy. Xcel’s Minneapolis-based executives disagree. We certainly hope that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission sides with the people of their own state.

— Susan Kochevar, via [email protected]