For more than a century, Xcel Energy has had the privilege of serving customers and operating in hundreds of communities across its eight-state service territory. We have accomplished this by never losing sight of our responsibilities and the understanding that our success is uniquely tied to the success of those we serve.
We see our success today and in the future not simply as a measure of profit but equally as our broader impact on the public good. The safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy we provide enables our local economies and individuals to thrive and communities across our service territory to grow, develop and achieve their goals.
We power communities with reliable, affordable energy and contribute to local economies through our ongoing investment and partnership. Now more than ever, we must invest in our system and the technology and clean energy that will enhance our service for the future, all while keeping customer bills low. Through our investment, we contribute to the local tax base and provide good jobs with competitive wages and benefits. Most of our spending on goods and services is with local businesses, and we support a broad base of suppliers including businesses owned by women, minorities or military veterans. For the long term, we can support our communities as a partner in economic development. As low-cost, clean energy becomes more important to companies, we play a greater role in helping our cities and towns to attract and retain business. By supporting economic development, we deliver financial value not just for our communities and Xcel Energy, but for our investors who expect us to grow the business.
We operate in an industry that relies on natural resources, and as such, we are committed to minimizing and carefully managing our environmental impacts. In our daily operations, our communities can count on us to do what’s right and to protect the environment. We were an early adopter of renewable energy, and continue to lead the clean energy transition with an aggressive clean energy strategy. We set an ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions 60 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels, and longer term, we are challenging ourselves to do even more while maintaining reliable, affordable energy. By serving customers with an increasingly clean energy mix, we also create other environmental benefits, such as lower air emissions, waste and water consumption. Beyond our operations, we also support important stewardship and conservation projects through our community investment — projects that further protect and preserve the places where we live, work and do business.
We serve people, powering their daily lives and providing comfort and convenience. Our vision is to be their trusted energy provider, and to achieve this, we must constantly find opportunities to create value by providing the products and services our customers want and making it easy to do business with us. A top priority is ensuring safety for those who live and work around energy because a safe community is a strong community. As an employer, we provide a safe and rewarding workplace, one that values people and their contributions. And, a workplace that reflects the diversity and strength of the communities we serve through hiring and workplace practices that offer opportunities for all, including our military veterans. Beyond this, we believe in helping customers in need and in the value of giving and supporting our communities through our time and financial contributions to do our part to improve the overall quality of life in our communities.
Throughout our Corporate Responsibility Report, we demonstrate our leadership and progress in fulfilling these economic, environmental and community responsibilities. We cover performance across 24 issues that are associated with these responsibilities and that are important to our industry and to those we serve. We put special emphasis on 10 focus areas that our stakeholders identified as currently being of most interest to them through a survey conducted in early 2017.
Through our strategic planning process, the board of directors and executive leadership team identified three strategic priorities that represent the keys to our continued success in achieving our vision to be the preferred and trusted provider of the energy our customers need. These priorities include:
Strong alignment exists between these strategic priorities and our corporate responsibility. The table below demonstrates this alignment to our corporate responsibility focus areas.
|Core Business Objective||Corporate Responsibility Focus Area|
Keep Customer Bills Low
Affordable Energy. Transform our cost structure to become more efficient and customer focused, while investing in projects that reduce fuel and other expenses for customers.
Reliable Energy. Deliver strong system reliability and outage response capabilities.
Local Economic Development. Support local economies through infrastructure investment, quality of service and economic development support.
Lead the Clean Energy Transition
|Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Air Quality. Continue to pursue a cost-effective clean energy strategy to reduce carbon and other air emissions.|
Enhance the Customer Experience
|Public Safety and Employee Safety. Ensure those living and working near our facilities are aware of potential hazards and respond safely to them.|
|Energy Efficiency. Support customers and the communities we serve in attaining their energy conservation goals|
The Foundation of All Our Efforts
Corporate Governance. Ensure sound corporate governance and a culture of compliance by focusing on strong practices, independent oversight and shareholder rights
Corporate responsibility is embedded throughout our organization and integrated into our governance processes. With strong leadership from our board of directors and executive management team, along with engaged leaders and organizations across the company, we are able to effectively manage risks and opportunities and drive strong performance across a spectrum of corporate responsibility issues.
The table below describes key aspects of our corporate governance that cover corporate responsibility.
Our board of directors, led by the chairman, president and CEO, oversees corporate responsibility-related issues and initiatives.
Board committees and responsibilities related to corporate responsibility include:
|Executive Oversight and Management||
The executive team plans and executes on strategies designed to achieve Xcel Energy’s priorities, including corporate responsibility-related issues and initiatives.
|Business Area Management||
While the entire organization supports our corporate responsibility efforts, specific issues are directly tied to individual areas to manage. We use effective performance management techniques and compensation design to align employees around successful execution of our goals and efforts.
Our operating companies execute on our corporate strategy and develop and implement plans that address corporate responsibility and fulfill our economic, environmental and community responsibilities.
As a regulated, public utility we can only be successful if we have insight into the needs and priorities of those who our business relies on and serves. Because of this, we regularly engage with our stakeholders and seek opportunities to better understand their interests, concerns and emerging trends. The feedback we receive from these interactions helps to inform our business plans and strategies.
Xcel Energy’s stakeholders are those individuals and groups who affect or are affected by our business operations. They fall within the following general categories:
Our stakeholder engagement is far-reaching, with regular, ongoing business interactions and special meetings, presentations and proceedings before our state public utilities commissions. Our account management and state and local affairs and community relations teams have always engaged with large customers, city and county governments, influential organizations and individuals, state legislators and policy makers to discuss important service and energy-related issues and projects. We also have a strong presence in our service territory through our community giving and volunteer support of community initiatives and programs.
Based on this solid foundation, we have been working to enhance our model for stakeholder engagement over the past several years, particularly in Colorado. We are taking these interactions to another level by using them as opportunities to improve how we listen to stakeholders and to educate and inform them on important energy-related initiatives, advocating for projects and policy solutions that we believe can provide mutual value for Xcel Energy and our stakeholders.
Through this effort, we are building trust, deepening our relationships and bringing our stakeholders with us to support important initiatives. Not only are we listening and responding to their interests, but stakeholders are taking ownership of our efforts, as our plans and initiatives become their plans and initiatives. An example of this is the Colorado Energy Plan, where we announced the effort with a broad coalition of diverse groups that also supported the plan, including consumer and environmental advocates, cities, large customers and industry groups. Support for the plan has been extensive, with more than 55 stakeholders — including large customers, city and county governments, school districts and others — sending positive letters to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, advocating for the plan.
In addition to this ongoing engagement, we conducted a special survey in 2017 to better understand our local stakeholders and their priorities related to corporate responsibility. Results from the survey helped to inform the content and focus for this report, as well as our efforts in general.
The table below outlines our regular, ongoing engagement with stakeholders and our response to stakeholder interests.
|Stakeholder group||Engagement||Key interests||Our response|
|Legislators and regulators*||
*Often overlaps with community stakeholders
Based on stakeholder engagement, research and participation in a number of industry and sustainability forums, we have identified 24 major corporate responsibility issues for Xcel Energy. These issues closely align with the sustainability issues facing the entire electric sector, as identified through an extensive study conducted by Electric Power Research Institute’s Energy Sustainability Interest Group — of which, Xcel Energy is a member.
In early 2017, using the Global Reporting Initiative methodology to guide us, we conducted an online survey with nearly 1,000 stakeholders to understand which issues are currently most important to the individuals and organizations within our service territory, as well as within our own organization. The results are provided in the chart below.
While all of these issues are important, we consider the issues highlighted in red to be focus areas. They reflect the current priorities of our stakeholders and for our company where we can have a meaningful impact. Consequently, to the extent we are successful in addressing and managing these issues, we will be delivering real value.
The corporate responsibility survey was conducted internally and designed to have stakeholders identify their top priorities for Xcel Energy’s corporate responsibility efforts. Xcel Energy’s executive leadership also answered the survey to understand our internal priorities. Altogether, the survey was distributed to nearly 1,000 internal and external stakeholders across our eight-state service territory. Approximately 26 percent of potential respondents participated. The respondents represented a good mix of our local stakeholder categories and our service territory.
The survey was based on the 24 corporate responsibility issues we identified for our company. These issues were based on our experience through regular stakeholder engagement, research and participation in a number of industry and sustainability forums. Many of these issues align with industry research conducted by the EPRI Sustainability Interest Group.
Throughout the survey, respondents were asked to prioritize the corporate responsibility issues in different ways and had the opportunity to identify new issues. First, the respondents ranked their priority issue within five categories. These are the responses shown in the graph in the section above. Second, respondents listed their top five corporate responsibility issues without any categories. Lastly, respondents could add new issues and describe any sustainability goals that their own organizations may have and how Xcel Energy could help meet those goals.
Xcel Energy corporate responsibility issues and definitions, including 10 identified focus areas emphasized below.
|Advanced Grid, Cybersecurity, Physical Security||Upgrading the power grid with advanced technologies to improve reliability and security; protecting important systems and infrastructure from unauthorized access or attack; drilling emergency scenarios both with and without external stakeholders to ensure effective response to potential events|
|Air Quality||Reducing air emissions other than greenhouse gases from our operations, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulate matter, both through emissions controls and fleet transformation|
|Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions||Managing and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from our operations, including carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) through fleet transformation|
|Community Giving and Volunteerism||Giving both time and money to local nonprofit organizations; supporting energy assistance programs for customers in need|
|Corporate Governance, Ethics and Compliance||Ensuring adherence to the rules, practices and processes that direct and control our company; setting ethical expectations and values and monitoring adherence to applicable laws and regulations|
|Customer Engagement and Satisfaction||Working with customers to understand their needs and improve the service and products we provide; ensuring a positive customer experience with interactions that are focused, simple and transparent; meeting our scorecard objective of building customer loyalty|
|Employee Safety||Adopting, enacting, and promoting effective programs that protect the health and safety of employees and contractors|
|Energy Affordability||Ensuring electricity and natural gas bills are affordable for consumers|
|Energy Efficiency||Providing programs to help customers take control of their energy usage and save money, including traditional rebate programs and advanced home solutions|
|Energy Reliability and Emergency Preparedness||Providing electricity and natural gas with few to no interruptions; being prepared to quickly repair outages caused by storms or other incidents|
|Fuel Diversity||Minimizing dependence on any one energy source by using a diverse mix of sources to generate electricity|
|Innovative Energy Programs and Options||Offering programs that give customers choice over their energy sources, such as helping them access more wind and solar power or helping them fuel electric or natural gas vehicles|
|Labor Practices||Adopting responsible practices related to employee pay, benefits and equal opportunity|
|Local Economic Development and Jobs||Working with the community to attract and support new business development and economic growth|
|Nuclear Generation, Safety and Waste Management||Maintaining Xcel Energy’s nuclear fleet that provides reliable, carbon-free electricity, in a way that ensures safety and emergency preparedness; safely handling and storing solid waste from nuclear generation|
|Procurement Practices||Doing business with responsible, local and/or diverse suppliers for the equipment, materials and services we purchase|
|Public Policy Engagement||Engaging and collaborating with policymakers and providing input on proposed legislation and regulations|
|Public Safety||Providing education to prevent accidental contact with electric power lines and natural gas pipelines; protecting the public around our facilities and facility operations; ensuring effective emergency response to public safety issues around our facilities|
|Renewable and Advanced Clean Technologies||Increasing electricity generation from clean, renewable energy sources, including wind farms and solar power plants; deploying advanced technologies to reliably manage higher levels of wind and solar energy|
|Technology Research and Demonstration||Participating in projects to test advanced energy technologies that have potential for providing customers with new products and services in the future; supporting industry research efforts through financial contributions, staff involvement and demonstration projects|
|Waste Management||Preventing and reducing waste produced from our operations, including coal ash; reusing or recycling waste instead of disposing of it in landfills; operating power plants fueled by waste|
|Water Quality, Availability and Management||Ensuring the availability of water for electricity generation and all other users; protecting water quality|
|Wildlife Protection and Biodiversity||Avoiding or minimizing impacts to protect species and their habitats; supporting raptor habitat and providing education and conservation opportunities on raptors|
|Workforce Development||Maintaining a workforce of the right size and skill profile, includes our talent management strategy and diversity and inclusion efforts; engaging in community efforts to develop pipeline of future employees; providing competitive employment opportunities and supporting diverse business resource groups|
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