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Corporate Compliance & Ethical Business Conduct

Our Approach

At Xcel Energy, our vision is to be the preferred and trusted provider of the energy our customers need. Our company’s Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct program continues to be a cornerstone of how we do business and the foundation for building trust.

For more than 100 years, we have integrated compliance and ethical business conduct into our culture and company’s practices, helping ensure the trust of our customers, shareholders, regulators and employees. But that trust, which takes years to build, can take just seconds to break and forever to repair. A single wrong decision can damage or even destroy a company’s reputation—no matter its history.

Our employees, contract workers and members of the board of directors deliver every day on the company’s core value to conduct all our business in an honest and ethical manner.

Ethical Foundation: Code of Conduct

Employees and their principled actions are at the heart of Xcel Energy. Our business and management practices are built on the Code of Conduct Employees at all levels, contract workers and members of the board of directors are expected to apply the Code of Conduct to their work. The board of directors approves any changes we may make to the Code of Conduct to ensure top-level ownership of this foundational part of our culture.

The Code of Conduct alerts employees of their ethical responsibilities and holds them responsible for their actions. As part of yearly training, employees are asked to attest to their understanding of and adherence to the Code of Conduct.

We use Ethics Checkpoint within the company as a tool to guide ethical decision making.

Ethics Checkpoint - a series of questions to help employees make good business decisions.

Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct Program

The focus of Xcel Energy's Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct program is to:

Do what's right: Report what seems wrong.

Sound Governance Practices

Xcel Energy’s board of directors has overall authority for the Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct program, with key elements of oversight delegated to the Audit Committee and Governance, Compensation and Nominating Committee. The Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct Council is comprised of leaders from across the company and ensures engagement with all employees.

The company’s CEO sets a strong tone at the top and demonstrates commitment to compliance by assigning program responsibility to the chief ethics and compliance officer, who also oversees company strategy, communications and corporate governance activities. The chief ethics and compliance officer also drives our company culture, including our values. The integration of these activities and responsibilities ensures that compliance is part of how we make decisions across the company and how employees learn, read and hear about compliance.

Policies and Training Guide Decisions

Company policies and training help employees understand how we do things at Xcel Energy to make good decisions every day. Training courses are packed with information that is presented in an engaging manner and demonstrates how our values guide the way we do business.

Our employees use the training information to ensure their actions protect the company’s brand and reputation by working safely, effectively and complying with the many policies, laws, regulations and expectations governing our work.

Issues, Investigations and Actions

When things don’t seem right, employees are encouraged to discuss issues with their leaders. We know reporting issues takes courage, so we offer many reporting options, conduct effective investigations in a timely manner, take appropriate action and provide protection from retaliation. The Investigations Governance Committee oversees the investigation process and is comprised of the chief ethics and compliance officer, general counsel, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer.

Our Compliance Hotline offers employees a way to ask questions about a decision they’re unsure about and report issues. In 2016, the majority of inquiries and issues pertained to questions about benefits, compensation, overtime, bonuses, relocation, health savings account contributions and discipline.

About 30 percent of the issues reported in 2016 were reported through the Compliance Hotline, which provides the opportunity to report anonymously, and about 70 percent through non-Hotline channels. Our review does not indicate any trend or focus area that is concerning. Compliance Hotline results align closely with benchmarks.

Employee Perceptions

In 2016, we changed how we evaluate the Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct program’s effectiveness from the employee perspective, shifting from internally developed questions at the end of Code of Conduct training to an externally developed and administered survey. This change will enable the program to benchmark employee perceptions against those at other companies. With an overall assessment score for non-bargaining employees of 84 percent, employees responded favorably compared to the benchmark.

To enhance the transparency of our investigations process and foster employee understanding of how reports are handled, we provided employees with summary information that included the number of substantiated allegations of wrongdoing, the types of discipline that were administered and other outcomes in the 2016 Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct Program Annual Report.

Looking Ahead
We know our work is never done. That’s why we are embarking on our second independent assessment of our Corporate Compliance and Business Conduct program in 2017 to gain greater insights into where our culture of compliance is strong and where opportunities exist to improve.

Additional Resources

Find our company mission, vision and values.

Read our Code of Conduct

Learn about Xcel Energy's corporate governance in the 2017 Proxy Statement.

Corporate Compliance & Ethical Business Conduct (PDF)

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