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Higher natural gas prices drive up Xcel Energy bills

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Higher natural gas prices drive up Xcel Energy bills

2008-04-03 22:00:00.0

AMARILLO, Texas - Higher natural gas prices have resulted in an increase in the fuel-cost portion of Xcel Energy customer bills in Texas.

Beginning May 1, the average Texas customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power a month will see a 13 percent increase in the overall bill, or $11.61 more per month.

The increase was filed today with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Fuel costs, which are passed through to customers directly at no profit to the company, are figured through a fuel factor, or formula, that is set twice a year. The summer factor will take effect May 1 and takes into account a 28 percent rise in the cost of natural gas over the winter. These costs are not part of a customer’s base electric rate.

The recently announced fuel surcharge in Texas is also a separate charge that will expire in March 2009. Its purpose is to recover past under collections of fuel costs. It is not factored into this fuel cost increase.

The increase in the fuel factor is not permanent. If fuel prices fall over the next six months, the winter factor will be less when it goes into effect in October. Any over collections would be credited back to the customer.

Almost all utility companies that use large amounts of natural gas to generate power are increasing fuel-related charges on customer bills. Even with the increases, Xcel Energy bills remain among the lowest in the state.

Xcel Energy is investing in upgrades to our generation and transmission system that should slow the rise in future fuel costs by spurring the development of more wind power, enabling us to import lower-cost power and enabling us to generate our own power more efficiently. These measures also will help us lower our greenhouse gas emissions.

Customers can mitigate cost increases by using power more efficiently in their homes and businesses. Information on how to reduce power costs is available at www.xcelenergy.com by clicking on the “residential” tab and going to the “save energy and money” link.

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.

 

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