Xcel Energy files for natural-gas rate increase

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) filed for an increase in natural-gas rates as well as a decrease in its electricity rates, the company said this week.

Gas bills would increase 14 percent for residential customers and 17 percent for small-business customers during the first quarter of 2014 if adjustments are approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Gas prices would increase average residential bills to $81.58 during the first quarter of 2014 from $71.80 during the fourth quarter of 2013. Average small-business bills would increase to $338.43 from $290.45 over the same period.

“All of those cost adjustments are strictly based on the cost of natural gas,´ said an Xcel spokesman, noting that gas prices have risen nationwide.

Xcel Energy said customers can explore ways to conserve energy and lower their gas bills by visiting Xcel’s website. Small-business customers can find information here.

The electric rate adjustments would lead to average bill decreases of about 1 percent for customers.

The average Xcel residential customer would pay $69.42 during the first quarter of 2014 for electricity vs. $69.93 during the fourth quarter of 2013. Electricity costs for the average Xcel small-business customer would decline to $112.80 from $113.71, according to Xcel.

Xcel Energy serves Greeley and other parts of Northern Colorado.

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