Reflecting the downward trends in the latest national statistics, Xcel Energy Inc. on Friday said it will decrease its retail natural gas and power rates in Colorado Oct. 1, assuming state regulators approve the move. A day earlier the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported year-over-year declining gas and electricity bills for consumers.
The average price paid for gas in June was $5.04/MMBtu, down 1.4% from the average price of $5.11/MMBtu in the same month last year, EIA reported. Average retail prices for electricity in the same June-to-June comparison were up slightly by 0.9%, EIA statistics showed.
Xcel said its quarterly gas cost adjustment (GCA) will see a 1% decrease, starting Oct. 1, compared to prices in last year’s fourth quarter. This was part of the Denver-based combination utility’s separate GCA and electric commodity adjustment (ECA) filings. Xcel said it expects typical fourth quarter retail electric bills to drop up to 10%.
As part of its gas filing, Xcel also announced that it was transferring the recovery of its carrying costs for natural gas storage inventories from its base rates to the GCA procedure. The utility removed the storage costs from its base rates Sept. 5 this year.
Xcel’s fourth quarter GCA this year will be 52.11 cents/therm for residential customers, compared to a rate of 52.78 cents/therm in the fourth quarter last year. Small businesses will pay 52.32 cents/therm, compared with 53 cent/therm last year in the fourth quarter.
On the power side, Xcel expects the average residential bill to decline by $7.12/month to about $67/month. Current average monthly bills are $74.12, an Xcel spokesperson said.
In the latest monthly EIA report, net generation in the United States was down 2.2% in the June-to-June comparison. Even so, industrial production stepped up 3.4%, compared to June last year, the EIA said, quoting the Federal Reserve as the source of that information.
Wind-based power was on the upswing, with a 35.5% increase in the June-to-June comparison. Some 35 of the 38 states reporting data to EIA showed increases in overall wind production, with Texas, Iowa and California showing the largest increases.
Natural gas and the other two primary fuels for electric generation — coal and nuclear — were all down in June compared to a year earlier, EIA said. The biggest drops in gas use showed up in Arizona, California and Michigan.
Through the first half of this year, the generation mix has been coal supplying 43.5% of the power produced; natural gas accounting for 22.2% and nuclear 19.1%, EIA reported. Hydroelectricity came in at 8.9%; renewables and others made up 5.4%, and petroleum in power generation was less than 1%.
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