At Xcel Energy, we recognize that wildfires pose a significant year-round threat to our customers, communities and our state as a whole – and we’re proactively implementing programs to improve safety and minimize ignition risks associated with operating our system.
As part of our commitment to safety, our comprehensive Wildfire Mitigation Program was designed to help protect lives, homes and property in Colorado. Our portfolio of programs ensures we continue to construct, maintain and operate the electric grid in a manner that reduces wildfire risk. To learn more about these programs, visit XcelEnergyWildfireMitigation.com (external link).
Work began on the program in 2019, and its funding structure was approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in April 2021. As part of the approval, we file an annual report with the Commission to provide insight into the progress we’re making and to measure the effectiveness of our investments.
We will also be filing a new multi-year Wildfire Mitigation Plan with the Commission during the first quarter of 2024 that details our future wildfire mitigation investments and how we will continue reducing wildfire threats across our service area.
Since launching our program in 2019, we've invested more than $375 million in wildfire mitigation efforts, and we continue to manage our spend and create program efficiencies to obtain cost savings wherever possible. Our investments accumulate in a deferred account until the Commission can review and approve those costs, which are then added to base rate energy charges on customer bills. This deferred accounting treatment is in effect for three years, from Jan. 1, 2021, through the end of 2023.
Under the most recent electric rate case settlement, approximately $23.5 million of wildfire mitigation investments were added to our Colorado electric rates in 2022. This represents about 0.7% of our total system costs, or about $0.63 on an average monthly residential bill.
The Commission will consider additional bill impacts as part of our 2022 Phase I Electric Rate Review settlement. If approved, rate changes would take effect in September 2023.
Filing materials related to this proposal are available here. You can also follow the proceedings and access electronic filings at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (external link). Search for Proceeding No. 20A-0300E.
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