September 4: A group of independent power producers, electricity generators that compete with Xcel on the wholesale electricity market, challenged plan 6.1E, arguing that it is illegal because it included actions that would occur after an implementation deadline established by HB 1365’s (December 31 2017). Specifically, the IPP interveners objected to plan 6.1E’s stipulation that Cherokee 4, a 351 megawatt coal fired power plant on the outskirts of Denver, be replaced with natural gas generation in 2022 (five years after the HB 1365 deadline).
September 29: In Decision C10-1067, the PUC partially ruled in favor of the IPP interveners, by striking all actions from plan 6.1E that take place after 2017 (ie, the 2022 fuel switching at the Cherokee 4 site). The PUC signals that it will continue deliberations on the truncated plan by sending it to the Department of Public Health and Environment for a determination whether the truncated plan met all reasonably foreseeable air quality regulations.
October 5: Xcel indicates that it is not content to proceed with the truncated version of its preferred plan by filing for a rehearing, re-argument, or reconsideration (“RRR”) of the PUC’s September 29 decision to truncate plan 6.1E. This was an attempt to resuscitate its preferred plan.
October 18: At the first pre-hearing meeting, Xcel announces that it has achieved an engineering breakthrough allowing it to reconfigure the Cherokee site so as accommodate implement its preferred Plan 6.1E before the December 31 2017 deadline.
October 19: Xcel requests to file testimony about the new scenario made possible by the engineering breakthrough that would allow the utility to implement its preferred Plan 6.1E by the HB 1365 deadline.
October 21: The PUC rejected Xcel’s RRR. By reaffirming its September 29 decision, the PUC finally terminated Xcel’s preferred plan. According to the PUC Commissioner Matt Barker, “what had been the preferred plan, is no longer on the table.” It should be noted, however, that the PUC has yet to file a written decision.
October 25: Xcel was expected to file a new version of its preferred plan, but instead the utility surprised everyone by filing a “recommended” plan (Plan 5B), and three new versions (Plan 6.2J, Plan 6E FS, and Plan 6.1E FS) of its original, preferred plan. No one likes the “recommended” plan, not even Xcel.