Explaining the high cost of your Xcel bill

Many Coloradans are seeing double or even triple costs for gas and electric this year, and most just want to know why.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:07 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Xcel bills continue to rise, with many Coloradans seeing bills more than double or even triple the size of bills seen this time last year. With budget-shattering bills, many Coloradans just want to know why their bills are so high.

Xcel says that natural gas and electricity generation make up for the bulk of the cost, with the cost Xcel itself pays for the services it provides making up the majority of recent price increases consumers have seen. Those price increases are passed down dollar-for-dollar to the consumers.

Xcel also does not bear any risk for not planning ahead by buying and storing gas when it is less expensive. Xcel Regional Vice President Jack Ihle says that it’s because there’s simply no money to be earned in doing so.

“On these fuel cost pass-throughs, and that’s what we call them, because we earned zero profit, we make zero margin on those, we don’t make money on those, so we pass those through to consumers,” said Ihle. “It’s essential for the financial health of the company to not bear a liability for something that it earns no profit on.

Xcel says it also charges customers for retiring coal plants early, rebates for vehicle charging stations, and renewable energy programs. As for why, Ihle says it’s because of politics. “Xcel has been driven by a lot of directives from the Colorado legislature. For instance, to do things like promote electric vehicle adoption, and promote distributed, renewable energy adoption, and promote energy efficiency. And so often that is directed by the Colorado legislature,” said Ihle.