Representative K.C. Becker and Senator Faith Winter have introduced legislation that would give Xcel Energy a green light and blank check to prematurely close existing power plants, replace them with expensive, intermittent resources, and then force captive electric ratepayers to pick up the tab with interest for the massive fuel switching scheme and workforce transition plans.
HB19-1313 “Electric Utility Plans to Further Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emission” is a blank check for Xcel – and only Xcel – because it applies solely to utilities that serve 500,000 or more ratepayers. Other utilities can “opt-in” to financially ravaging their customers. According to the bill summary:
A utility implementing a clean energy plan may recover its costs of implementation through rates, as approved by the PUC [Public Utilities Commission], and own any generating resources and infrastructure necessary to effectuate the plan.
We’ve seen this before, and it won’t end well for ratepayers as evidenced by our intervention in the Colorado Energy Plan (CEP), which we fought at the PUC. The monopoly utility is more than willing to build and build and build so it can fuel switch to utility-scale wind, solar, and batteries (which don’t really exist yet) at the expense of Colorado ratepayers.
Instead of saving ratepayers money, the Coalition proved that the CEP will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. Further, we found Xcel’s modeling errors, which PUC staff did not.
Xcel can already file such plans with the PUC and has released a vision to reduce its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030 and be 100 percent carbon-free by 2050. Hence, legislative direction is superfluous, and this bill should only be viewed as another avenue the Democrats are willing to travel in their attempt to reorder society through legislation.
Make no mistake; this bill will impact all Colorado residents – especially the state’s lower-income communities and those with static incomes, who in many cases are the elderly. In fact, AARP is against HB19-1313 because the organization understands an unnecessary increase in energy rates only harms its members and takes away their ability to spend money on necessary, more important matters.
If HB19-1313 passes, customers who cannot choose their electricity provider will pay for worker re-training programs and compliance costs, which will include building new generation capacity, storage capacity, and any new transmission and distribution lines.
This won’t be cheap. Utility bills will go up. Captive Xcel Energy customers are searching for a friend at the state capitol because it isn’t Speaker Becker or Senator Winter. We can’t afford to let the legislature give the monopoly a blank check.