Due to “dramatic” declines in wholesale gas prices for its Colorado combination utility operations, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Tuesday asked state regulators to approve a 14%, or $109 million, retail electric rate decrease effective Oct. 1. Xcel in August asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to lower retail residential and small business gas utility rates by 54%.

“Lower current and projected fuel costs, primarily associated with [wholesale] natural gas prices, mean a decrease of costs collected through the Electric Commodity Adjustment (ECA) rider,” Xcel said.

On Aug. 15 Xcel told the PUC that based on the anticipated trend in gas prices, for September its retail commodity rate for gas, which changes monthly, would drop 54%, compared to the August charge ($0.4381/th vs. $0.9576/th in August). In September 2007 the rate was lower still than this year ($0.4076/th), the utility said.

Xcel files the ECA rider quarterly with the PUC to reflect increases or decreases associated with generation fuel costs and purchased power. The new ECA rate, if approved, for residential and small business customers would be 3.303 cents/kWh for October through December, compared with 4.925 cents/kWh in the current quarter.

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