Customers in Need
We work with state and local agencies and advocates for low-income customers to provide energy assistance to those in need. Our Personal Accounts department provides services that promote the efficient use of energy while making energy bills more affordable to income-qualified families through payment plans and energy assistance programs.
In 2014, we helped provide nearly $29.4 million to customer energy assistance programs throughout our service territory. Our support of energy assistance includes:
- Public policy and advocacy supporting efforts on the state and federal level to increase funding for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP)
- Funding for state and local energy assistance agencies and energy weatherization programs
- Encouraging our customers to contribute to statewide fuel funds via their Xcel Energy bills
- In-kind marketing and public relations to support energy assistance organizations and advocates for low-income customers
|Program||Description||States Available||# Customers Participating in 2014|
|Gas Affordability Program||The program is designed to reduce the percentage of income that low-income households must devote to meet current energy bills. It’s also designed to increase the number of customer payments and provide a mechanism for assisting customers in paying off past due balances. We partner with Energy CENTS Coalition (ECC) on both outreach and administration of the program.||MN||9,987|
|PowerON||Customers enrolled in PowerON get a discount on their monthly bills in return for their commitment to a payment plan. We partner with ECC to provide outreach and administration of this program. ECC obtains consumption information from us and combines it with customer income information to calculate each participant’s PowerON benefit.||MN||8,032|
|Low-income Discount Program||
Qualifying participants receive a $15 discount each billing period.
|Low-income Energy Savings Programs||Our Home Energy Savings program offers free energy savings services and upgrades, including weather stripping, insulation, replacement of inefficient furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, freezers and window/wall air conditioners, and installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Free in-home installation and equipment upgrades also are available to income-qualified customers through our Home Energy Squad program and our newly launched Multi-family Energy Savings program, which targets apartment buildings.||MN||2,098 in Home Energy Savings, plus 1,430 Home Energy Squad and 2,238 Multi-family Energy Savings|
|Electric and Gas Assistance Programs (EAP/GAP)||Through these programs, participants are eligible for benefits such as a discount on their monthly gas or electricity bill, partial forgiveness for outstanding balances and weatherization assistance through the Colorado Energy Office program.||CO||16,190|
|Medical Exemption Program (MEP)||Customers in Colorado who have a medical condition and/or use life support equipment that requires electricity may be eligible for the Medical Exemption Program. The program offers a rate of $0.063 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for all electricity used each month from June to September. Participants in the Colorado MEP revert to standard residential electric rates in October.||CO||544|
|Income-qualified Weatherization Programs||Free weatherization services, including weather stripping, insulation, replacement of inefficient furnaces and refrigerators, and installation of CFLs, in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office and Energy Outreach Colorado.||CO||1,263 (single-family residences) 28 (multi-family complexes) 7,786 (energy saving kits)|
|Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP)||This program helps selected nonprofit organizations lower energy use and save costs. Participating organizations receive energy audits to identify energy saving measures, which are then implemented.||CO||28 (includes multi-family complexes and other large buildings)|
|Home Energy Services: Low-Income Program||This program provides various energy saving programs to low-income customers in New Mexico. Weatherization of existing homes, increasing duct efficiency for homes with central air, attic insulation and installation of up to 10 CFL light bulbs are the most requested services. Refrigerator replacement, installation of evaporative air conditioners and installation of radiant barriers are also offered.||NM||703|
|Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund (KWWF)||The Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund assists thousands of customers every year who face a number of situations that create financial challenges. About 95 percent of those helped are elderly, families with young children or people with disabilities. The funds from KWWF are distributed to local energy assistance and community action agencies.
In March 2014 Xcel Energy made an donation of $100,000 to the fund.
|Income Eligible - Residential Rewards and Home Performance||Through the statewide Focus on Energy program, income-eligible customers are offered larger incentives than standard program participants for the purchase of energy efficient heating and cooling equipment. They are also offered reduced costs on professional home energy assessments and increased incentives to offset costs of recommended air-sealing and insulation improvements.||WI||n/a|
If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to reach out to customers regarding payment issues, we disconnect service only as a last resort. We will usually shutoff service three to 10 days after the disconnection notice is sent if we are unable to resolve the issue or arrange a payment plan with the customer. In 2014, we disconnected service to a total of 99,360 customers. The majority of these customers are reconnected after they arrange payment plans or pay their bills in full. We typically send customers a reminder notice 33 days after their unpaid bill is due and a disconnection notice 64 days after the original due date. Heat-affected disconnects are not performed in our five Upper Midwest states during the heating season. In all states, Customer Care leadership can decide to suspend disconnections during extreme weather or other emergency situations.
Learn more about energy assistance.