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PUC Hearing on Cost Recovery for Stranded Coal Plants

March 21, 2023 @ 4:00 pm 5:30 pm

There will be a public hearing at the PUC on Tuesday March 21, 2023 at 4 pm on “cost recovery” for Xcel’s stranded coal plants. (Proceeding 22A-0515E) Below is the link for signing up to speak. Full information and zoom link at the bottom of this message. A few talking points below.

Registration link to participate in the public comment hearing:


Short and very short statements are fine–just tell the PUC you don’t want to have to pay off Xcel’s mistakes!!

Below are a few bullet points for testimony–but 


Just make this basic point in your own words and that no other business can do this–and Xcel shouldn’t be allowed to do it either.

  • The PUC is focused on HOW customers should pay for Xcel’s stranded coal plants–but that misses the point.
  • The key question is WHO should pay for Xcel’s mistaken expenditures on coal plants–Xcel of course assumes customers should pay for their mistakes–No other business can do this–and Xcel shouldn’t be able to do this!
  • Before deciding what method to use for cost recovery (“regulatory asset” or securitization or accelerated depreciation etc) the PUC NEEDS TO FIRST LOOK AT WHO SHOULD PAY AND THE PUC SHOULD NOT START WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT IT IS XCEL’S CUSTOMERS WHO SHOULD PAY FOR XCEL’S MISTAKES!!
  • This proceeding involves paying off over $200 million dollars for the Brush coal plant (the one Xcel calls “Pawnee). In the last decade, Xcel has spent over $279 million on sulfur and nitrogen controls for the Brush coal plant as part of what was called “Clean Air Clean Jobs” or “CACJ.” Those CACJ expenditures more than doubled the value of the Brush coal plant and Xcel has been earning a profit on that. (Proceeding 11A-325E) Now that those expenditures will be deemed “obsolete” (only about a decade from when they were completed), Xcel wants its customers to continue to pay them off. (Similar arguments apply to the Hayden coal plants but the numbers are significantly smaller.)  Again–customers (who have no meaningful role at the PUC) should not be forced to pay off Xcel’s mistakes. 
  • The PUC has extremely broad authority to “correct abuses” and to do all things necessary (see CRS 40-3-102, below and attached) to regulate our monopoly investor-owned utilities.

40-3-102. Regulation of rates – correction of abuses.

The power and authority is hereby vested in the public utilities commission of the state of Colorado and it is hereby made its duty to adopt all necessary rates, charges, and regulations to govern and regulate all rates, charges, and tariffs of every public utility of this state to correct abuses; to prevent unjust discriminations and extortions in the rates, charges, and tariffs of such public utilities of this state; to generally supervise and regulate every public utility in this state; and to do all things, whether specifically designated in articles 1 to 7 of this title or in addition thereto, which are necessary or convenient in the exercise of such power, and to enforce the same by the penalties provided in said articles through proper courts having jurisdiction; except that nothing in this article shall apply to municipal natural gas or electric utilities for which an exemption is provided in the constitution of the state of Colorado, within the authorized service area of each such municipal utility except as specifically provided in section 40-3.5-102.

  • Xcel in Colorado (i.e. “PSCo”) had $727 million in after-tax net income in Colorado in 2022 (page 24 (31 of 65) in PSCo’s 2022 10-k, attached or available from SEC 10-K Filings | Xcel Energy)–it is way past time for the Colorado PUC to start truly protecting Xcel’s customers–and not assuming that customers will pay for Xcel’s mistakes is an important first step!! 
  • It is NOT just and reasonable (as called for in CRS 40-3-101) to make customers pay off Xcel’s mistakes. 
  • Approval from the PUC (through a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or “CPCN”) provides a presumption of prudence but not a guarantee. If Xcel wants a guarantee that protects it from paying for its mistakes, then its “Return on Equity” or ROE should be much, much lower (e.g. under 4%) than its current 9.3% ROE. A 9.3% return on equity implies a level of risk–but Xcel wants it both ways–a high Return on Equity–AND no risk. The PUC needs to correct this abuse! 

If you should want more of the “gory details” please be in touch and please persistent if needed. It is a busy time. You can also text my cell phone below if I’m missing an email from you. Thanks!

Registration link to participate in the public comment hearing:


Below is the more detailed information, the link for signing up and the zoom connection

PUC: Public Comment HRG: 22A-0515E Public Service Co. of Colo – Retirement of Coal Generation, C3 (Reporter)

Tue, March 21, 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Hearing Room B, DORA – Hearing Room B (map)
Registration link to participate in the public comment hearing:


Colorado PUC Hearing Room B is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: PUC: Public Comment HRG: 22A-0515E Public Service Co. of Colo – Retirement of Coal Generation, C3 (Reporter)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 1759 6349
Passcode: 926831
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