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Preview of November 3 PUC Hearing on HB 1365

Primer on the Many Implementation Plans that the PUC Is Considering
Primer on HB 1365
Timeline of Implementation Plans
Study on the Dubious Foundations of HB 1365
Archive of HB 1365 Posts
Oped Last Week in Denver Daily News: Ritter’s Phantom Carbon Tax

CDPHE Clears Xcel’s Two New Fuel Switching Plans

Before the PUC can “approve, deny, or modify” Xcel’s HB 1365 implementation plan, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment must certify that the plan would meet “reasonably foreseeable” state and federal air quality regulations. Monday evening, the CDPHE filed supplemental testimony stating that Xcel’s two new fuel switching plans are HB 1365-compliant.

PUC Refuses To Reconsider Admissibility of Xcel’s New Version of Its Old Preferred Plan

As I noted in yesterday’s PUC hearing preview, Chairman Binz had promised to revisit his “tentative” decision to allow Xcel to put forth an accelerated version of its preferred plan, despite strong opposition from the PUC Staff. [N.B. confused about all these plans? Click here.] Yesterday morning, Chairman Binz asked Commissioner James Tarpey and Commissioner Matt Baker whether they wanted “to clarify the lay of the land,” referring to a reconsideration of Xcel’s new version of its old preferred plan. Commissioners Baker and Tarpey demurred.

Hearings Ended Yesterday

Cross examination of direct and rebuttal testimony ended yesterday early afternoon. That ends this round of hearings. Hearings will resume on November 18. Chairman Binz announced a new November schedule,

  • November 9: Direct testimony on Xcel’s four new HB 1365 implementation plans is due.
  • November 15: Rebuttal testimony is due
  • November 18-20: The next round of hearings.

Why Is the PUC Meeting Today?

HB 1365 gives Xcel the right to withdraw its plan (i.e., the right to walk away) if it “disagrees with the [PUC’s] modifications.” This is essentially a veto power.

Currently, there are twelve plans being considered by the PUC. Under the Yesterday morning, Chairman Binz asked Xcel’s counsel “to produce an exhaustive list of cases [i.e., plans] that the Company [Xcel] will not object to.” The idea is to whittle down the potential plans, in order to avoid wasting everyone’s time by considering a plan unacceptable to the utility.

At 1:30 PM, Xcel witness Karen Hyde, Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Affairs, will specify which plans the utility would veto.

William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute