Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. on Friday filed with Colorado regulators plans to raise retail natural gas utility rates while keeping retail electricity charges basically flat. Xcel’s combination Public Service Company of Colorado asked to make the rate changes effective April 1.

Separately, the utility filed an all-source generation request for proposals (RFP) with state regulators. Xcel is looking for up to 250 MW of additional generation capacity in Colorado by 2018. The company said it will be “evaluating whether any proposals can serve as economic alternatives to the planned fuel switching” at two existing coal-fired plant units: Arapahoe Unit 4 and Cherokee Unit 4.

Under the rate filing to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Xcel proposes higher gas utility bills for the second quarter this year, compared with the same period last year. Xcel described its wholesale gas prices at historically low levels. Gas prices have begun to move upward, though.

“All forms of electric generation supply technology greater than 10 MW, both fossil fuel and renewables, can be bid,” said Public Service Company of Colorado CEO David Eves.

Xcel told the PUC a total residential monthly gas bill will be about $4.20 higher and small business bills will be up by as much as $15.10/month. Even with the increases, however, the typical residential and small business gas bills will be lower than they were two years ago, a utility spokesperson said.

The bigger bills upcoming are based on average residential use of 33.6 therm/month and for small businesses 153.3 therm/month.

By comparison, average customer usage during the first quarter this year was 107.6 therm and 454.8. therm for residential and small businesses in the winter months. That use equated to typical monthly winter natural gas bills of $70 and $293 for residential and small businesses, respectively.

©Copyright 2013Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.