18 July 2006

Xcel: Summer Is Hot, Who Knew?

When all else fails, blame your screw ups on God. He's known to do all sorts of totally unexpected things, like causing high temperatures in late July days in metropolitan Denver, just like he did in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 when you also screwed up due to such unexpected weather.

Xcel officials blamed blistering temperatures over the weekend for equipment failures that led to sporadic outages throughout metro Denver and other parts of Colorado. . . . About 6,300 Colorado households and businesses were without electricity late Monday afternoon. At the height of the problem late Sunday night, 12,000 customers - mostly in metro Denver - were hit by outages.

Perhaps, Xcel let it happen because it knows that it will suffer no consequences for doing so:

[C]ustomers will see no credits for excessive outages this year. In a 2005 settlement with the PUC, Xcel agreed to invest an additional $11 million in system maintenance in exchange for the PUC not levying any penalties for service problems in 2006.

Xcel Energy will be asking Denver customers to lock themselves into twenty more years of service from it in the August 8, 2006 primary election, when voter turnout is expected to hit record lows because there are no contested races in most of the city and there has been almost no publicity about the vote, which was just recently announced.

Temperatures in Colorado at Denver International Airport were 101 degrees Farenheit on Saturday, and 103 degrees Farenheit on Sunday.

Cross Posted at Colorado Confidential.

1 comment:

Kevin Dickson said...

Some sort of weird incentive program has been approved by the PUC. From the Denver Post article:

"Under a new incentive plan approved by the commission, Xcel could recover from ratepayers all costs for programs that encourage customers to use energy more efficiently. Xcel also could receive bonuses if it meets certain targets."

How about a rate-based incentive program? That's how the rest of our economy works. You are charged the cost of a service plus a profit. The amount of profit is determined by the market price.

Since Xcel is a monopoly, the market price is set by the PUC. Therfore the market price should be the cost plus the 10% profit that Xcel is allowed by law.

The problem is that the rate structure doesn't reflect actual costs.

The Smart metering initiative will solve this problem, so this recently passed incentive program is just a stopgap, and a perverted one at that.