Cathy Proctor at the Denver Business Journal reports that the PUC on Wednesday denied appeals of its decision on HB 1365, the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, legislation that effectively mandates fuel switching from coal to natural gas for almost 1,000 megawatts of electricity generation along the Front Range. As I explained here, virtually every party to this docket filed a motion to rehear the case.
The PUC has yet to post a written decision, and Proctor’s Denver Business Journal focuses on the coal stakeholders to the docket, so I don’t yet know if the PUC denied all appeals, or whether it only denied the coal companies’ motion.
If it was a blanket dismissal of claims, and the PUC refused to reconsider the issues brought up by Xcel, then the $64,000 question becomes: Will Xcel walk? Remember, HB 1365 gives the Minneapolis-based utility the authority to abandon the process, and scuttle the law, for whatever reason. As noted here, the PUC’s decision adopted a conservative interpretation of the cost recovery provisions of the law, and Xcel’s appeal expressed strongly the utility’s belief that the PUC had violated the statutory text of the law when it denied certain ultra-generous ratemaking concessions.
I’ll update this post when a written copy of the PUC’s decision is posted.
William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute