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Our products and services differ based on state. Please select your state (or the state you're interested in) from the list to the left.
Why do our products and services differ based on state? Because our business is regulated by state. We have regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. The different regulatory body for each state we serve determines what products and services we deliver in that state.
Xcel Energy provides natural gas to customers in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. We are the 10th largest natural gas distribution company in the country.
Several Xcel Energy power plants use natural gas to produce electricity, including Fort St. Vrain, Blue Spruce Energy Center and Rocky Mountain Energy Center. Today natural gas is a more viable power plant fuel. New drilling techniques have increased supplies and made it more affordable. It also is a cleaner fuel and produces significantly lower greenhouse gas and air emissions than other fossil fuels.
Natural gas is a key component of our implementation of Colorado’s Clean Air – Clean Jobs Act – state legislation enacted in spring of 2010 that requires regulated utilities, like Xcel Energy, to work to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. It was prompted by the very real threat of federal intervention into air regulation in the Denver metro area, due to noncompliance with multiple pending air mandates. Without the legislation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) likely would have unilaterally mandated a compliance program for the state in early 2011. The comprehensive approach taken in Clean Air – Clean Jobs will be more cost effective than an EPA process.
Under the act, we are required to develop a multi-year plan to reduce our emissions of nitrogen oxides by 70 to 80 percent or greater from 900 megawatts of coal-fired generation by 2018 and meet “reasonably foreseeable” environmental requirements. The average annual rate impact over the next 10 years is estimated to be approximately 2 percent, as we retire the coal-fired unit at Valmont Station in Boulder and three units at Cherokee Station in Denver and replace the generation with power produced by a new, cleaner natural gas plant. We also will reduce emissions from 951 megawatts of coal-fired electric generation by installing modern emissions controls.
Our goal is always to provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable natural gas. The focus on safety is deliberate. The design, construction, operation, inspection and maintenance of our pipelines consistently meet and often exceed state and federal regulations and requirements. Every year we allocate dollars and train employees to ensure the safety of our system.
The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), is the primary federal regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safe, reliable and environmentally sound operation of America's energy pipelines. The agency develops and implements pipeline safety regulations at the federal level, sharing regulatory responsibility with states.
The greatest risk to natural gas pipes and all pipelines is third-party excavation near our pipelines. To reduce that risk and for the safety of the public, state and federal laws require everyone to “call before you dig” to prevent damage to natural gas and other underground utility lines. Colorado law requires the person digging to call 811 three business days in advance to request a “locate” before any excavation or digging project begins. The Utility Notification Center of Colorado (UNCC) or Colorado 811 is the organization that arranges for the facility owners to locate their buried utility lines.