Based on filings that Xcel Energy’s Colorado utility made Tuesday with state regulators, retail natural gas and electricity customers will decrease in the third quarter beginning July 1, compared to the second quarter this year. If approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the lower rates will stay in effect through Sept. 30.

Driving the anticipated decline in customer monthly bills — both residential and small businesses — is a $38.3 million quarterly reduction in the utility’s Electric Commodity Adjustment (ECA) and a $5.3 million reduction on an annualized basis for the Quarterly Gas Cost Adjustment (QGCA), according to Xcel’s PUC filing.

Monthly electricity bills will drop about 4% for both residential and small business customers, with residential bills dropping an average of $3.22 and small business bills going down about $5.75/month for the typical customers. For gas customers there is a wide difference between the size of the decreases for residential (4%, or less than $1/month) and small businesses (18%, or $14.20/month).

“Natural gas bills have been compared on an annual basis to more accurately reflect the seasonal bill impact of fuel and purchased energy costs and use,” a Denver-based Xcel spokesperson said. Utility costs associated with the quarterly changes up and down are passed along to retail customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis, he said.

As part of the ECA and QGCA rate change announcements, Xcel said it was seeking more customers to participate in and take advantage of the utility’s ongoing energy efficiency and conservation programs, which include energy audits and rebates for new, qualified energy efficiency heating/cooling equipment. Xcel also touted its programs for low-income customers.

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