The regulatory space at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is the playground of corporate lawyers, unelected bureaucrats, and well-funded special interest groups. They have “stakeholder” meetings that include only themselves. Then they issue press statements slapping each other on the back for their hard work securing a “settlement” that forces Colorado working families and small businesses to pay more while a monopoly utility lines its pockets and special interest groups claim victory.
It’s no wonder ratepayers don’t feel welcome, and it’s why we are leading a ratepayer coalition through the regulatory process to oppose Xcel Energy’s latest attempt to bilk Colorado electricity consumers with its new “Colorado Energy Plan.” The plan, which didn’t get legislative approval, would prematurely retire almost 700 megawatts of coal-fired generating units to be replaced with industrial wind and some natural gas. The “plan” will cost ratepayers billions of dollars.
Xcel Colorado president David Eves revealed what the new energy portfolio will be in his testimony in support of the CEP. Notice what happens to both coal and natural gas — the work horses of our energy economy — just so Xcel can profit and the eco-left can claim victory.
Last year, our ratepayer coalition successfully petitioned for standing at the PUC and intervened in Xcel’s expedited process for approval of its Rush Creek industrial wind project. We were the lone party objecting to the settlement because we weren’t convinced of the economics or the need.
We are the lone party this time too. Once again, Xcel’s math doesn’t work in ratepayers’ favor. But we won’t stop just because well-funded environmental left organizations, Xcel Energy, and agenda driven bureaucrats are lined up against us and ratepayers. Our coalition is a group of small businesses that can’t afford an additional rate increase that will only increase Xcel’s profits. For those keeping score, between 2006 and 2016, Xcel’s annual profits nearly doubled from $458.8 million to $889.6 million.
Intervening is expensive. It’s a highly specialized legal field. To be successful, we need well-respected experts to crunch numbers and provide testimony. This is why so few get involved. Think of us as the Continental Army fighting the British Empire. We may lose battles but eventually we will win the war because we are right.
For those interested in additional information below are some helpful links:
Money and Power in Colorado: how the state’s largest monopoly utilities benefit from eco-left energy policies