Following state regulators’ request to switch from monthly adjustments, Xcel Energy’s Colorado utility said Thursday it is starting to adjust its retail rates on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas beginning with the fourth quarter. As a result, the utility is projecting that its monthly gas bills during the last quarter will be 7-9% lower than they were in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Xcel submitted its revised rate filing to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), asking for the lower charges to be effective Oct. 1. The utility stressed that it passes through commodity costs.

A typical residential and small business customer monthly bill this coming fourth quarter is estimated to be $72.76 and $308.50, respectively. This compares to residential monthly bills of $79.89 and small business monthly bills of $333.10 for the same quarter last year.

“The proposed rates during the quarter include usage and costs for October, November and December,” a spokesperson said. The wholesale commodity rate Xcel proposed to the PUC will drop about 13% from the same period last year to an average in the quarter of 55.96 cents/therm for residential customers and 56.20 cents/therm for small businesses. In the fourth quarter last year commodity rate estimates were 64.53 cents/therm, Xcel said.

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