Coal plant delay means lower hike in Colo. rates

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2009 10:45 AM

Xcel Energy Inc.'s electric rates won't increase as much as expected in January because of a delay in the start of the utility's new coal-fired plant.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday that it approved a roughly $70 million rate increase, down from the previously granted $128.3 million.

Typical homeowners will see their monthly electric bills rise by $2.55 rather than the $4.43 under the higher rate. Small commercial customers' monthly bills will increase $3.66, compared with $6.72.

Xcel Energy's new unit at the Comanche power plant near Pueblo likely won't start up until at least February because of a leaky boiler. The Minneapolis-based utility can ask that the entire rate increase be restored once the plant starts operations.