Xcel Invoices: Unpack each shipment, line by line

We took a real bill straight to Xcel and asked for a line-by-line explanation.

DENVER – Reading an Xcel bill these days requires quite a few TUMS.

The back of the bill is hard to read. Describe the reason for each charge, if you can understand the explanation.

To use a line from Beetlejuice: “This thing reads like stereo instructions.”

Stephen Berman, Xcel Energy’s regional vice president of regulation and pricing, helped go through the line to describe reason for each charge On electricity and gas bills.

Pull out your last bill and buckle up.

electric bells

This is the fee for the meter on your home, meter reading, billing, and providing Xcel for customer service.

“Things like the counter, organizing our customer service and services that are generally fixed costs,” Berman said. “The piece of your bill related to the meter in your home, to our customer care organization, and other service organizations within the company such as IT and finance, where these are fixed costs.”

Back to Peak | Reto Mid/Back/Shoulder | Back off peak

This is the usage fee. For customers with a smart meter subject to time-of-use rates, this usage fee is divided into three different lines, based on the time of day:

  • The most expensive “RETOU On-Peak” fee is for use from 3pm to 7pm during the week.
  • Mid-peak from 1 pm to 3 pm, seven days a week.
  • Off peak hours 7pm to 1pm during the week, all day on weekends and holidays.

Customers subject to public residential pricing will see this as a single line on their bill.

What does that part of the bill pay?

“That would cover everything across our service area, all of our generation facilities, most of our transmission and distribution, and all of those things that are not considered service and facility,” Berman said.

GRSA E (General Price Schedule Adjustment)

This is a price change to cover Xcel’s electricity saving costs that are not accounted for in the time-of-use or general pricing section.

“The first step is to work out the total amount that the business needs to operate, and then the second step is a separate procedure, to break that down and say, ‘How should it be divided between residential, commercial, industrial, and all your different price brackets.'” Those two things happen at different times, and in between those two actions, we kind of put the peanut butter spread into these two categories,” Berman said.

A GRSA represents a price change just before it is included in the time of use or general pricing fee.

And they must be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates utility companies in Colorado.

“Each of these lines resulted from different proceedings before the commission, in which the company sought to recoup costs we spend on certain programs,” Berman said.

EGCRR (Extraordinary Gas Cost Recovery Rider)

This fee is related to the cold snap of February 2021 when Xcel had to buy expensive natural gas to generate electricity. This is the fee, approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, to pay Xcel for the purchase of that gas. Payment will continue on the electric side of the bill through July 2024. These charges also appear on your natural gas bill.

Cost transfer (transportation cost adjustment)

This is a fee for additional transmission investment between base rate adjustments.

“All of the base rates you get here are set through your use at a particular point in time, and for the transmission investment, we continue to be able to charge those investments as we incur them, in the periods when we change those investment rates in the top line,” Berman said. “This is a rider who is just collecting that extra investment when they go into service.”

ECA (Electrical Goods Modification)

This is the cost of the fuel used to generate the electricity you use.

“ECA is an energy cost adjustment. So, that’s actually your fuel cost. And adjusted for that, those rates are adjusted quarterly based on your actual fuel costs,” Berman said. “The company incurs costs for fuel, coal and gas, and we pass those costs directly on to customers with no profit margin.”

Because rates change quarterly, invoices such as the current invoice that Xcel customers receive, will have two lines for these charges. One ECA fee for December pricing, and another ECA fee for January.

“Your biggest charge is your ECA, which is the actual fuel,” Berman said.

Demand side management (demand side management)

This is one of the fees customers pay to help Xcel pay incentives.

“Demand-side management is the costs that a company spends to encourage energy efficiency, and the money that we spend with companies to help them improve lighting, improve their energy use,” Berman said. “There are residential programs that clients can take advantage of out there.”

These programs include bringing Xcel into your home to give it an energy audit and discounts for purchasing energy efficient appliances.

“You’re paying to develop software that’s available to all resident clients,” Berman said. “Incentivising energy efficiency reduces the need for a company to build more generation that will increase your top line.”

PurchCapCostAdj (purchase capacity cost adjustment)

This is the fee that Xcel pays to buy from third parties, since Xcel does not have the ability to generate and maintain enough on its own.

“It’s not the actual energy, not the actual coal or gas, but it’s the capacity that we buy from a third party because we don’t have enough energy in our system to get the capacity that we need,” Berman said.

Trans Elec Plan

This is to fund more incentive programmes, particularly with regard to electricity. This includes rebates for installing an electric vehicle charging station in your home.

“There are a lot of EV programs that the company has that EV owners can take advantage of,” Berman said. “A state policy to stimulate the adoption of electric vehicles.”

renewal. Energy Std Adj

This fee is 1% of the electricity bill to finance renewable energy projects.

“Another contestant is collecting costs to fund renewable energy programs that the company brings renewables online, to pay for,” Berman said.

Colo Energy Plan Adj

This is prompting the early retirement of many Xcel coal plants.

“The committee approved the company to retire early from coal plants, and that’s a package of costs to pay for early retirement,” Berman said.

Chg energy assistance (energy assistance fee)

This fee was imposed by state lawmakers from a bill that was passed into law in 2021. There is a fee of 75 cents on electric and gas bills to help fund help paying for energy. It turns out that you can ask not to have to pay this fee.

“It’s a fee customers can opt out of, however, it’s standard on billing, and those dollars go to helping low-income customers,” Berman said.

Natural gas bills

This is the conversion from cubic feet of natural gas (volume) to energy (therms).

Just like the electric side, this is a fee for your home’s gas meter, meter reading, and getting bills, and Xcel provides customer service.

This fee covers pipelines and storage, and ways to deliver Xcel gas to your home.

That’s a cost that covers the cost of how Xcel gets the gas into its system.

This is your actual gas usage. Just like the ECA on your electric bill, the rate changes quarterly, so there could be a December charge at one rate and a January charge at another.

DSMCA (Demand Side Management Cost Adjustment)

Just like the electric side of the bill, this is one of the fees customers pay to help Xcel pay for incentives.

GRSA-P (General price table adjustment – pipeline system safety adjustment)

Your eyes do not deceive you. This is a small credit on your bill. It reflects a rate change in our favour. Xcel has raised a lot of money for pipeline safety.

“If we collect it more or less, there’s a correction. You’ll notice that’s a credit. So there was an overpool and we’re in the process of giving that back to customers,” Berman said.

EGCRR (Extraordinary Gas Cost Recovery Rider)

This is a cost related to the cold snap in February 2021 when Xcel had to buy really expensive natural gas. On your natural gas bill, that’s Xcel’s reimbursement for the gas you purchased that was used to heat your home during that short period in mid-February. It is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Payment will continue on the natural gas side of the bill through January 2025.

GRSA (General Rate Schedule Adjustment)

This is a price change to cover Xcel’s costs of providing natural gas that are not accounted for in the natural gas line item.

Chg energy assistance (energy assistance fee)

Just like on the electricity side, this is a fee that state legislators imposed from a bill that passed into law in 2021. There is a 75-cent fee on electric and gas bills to help fund help paying for energy. To cancel this fee, you can call 1-800-895-4999.

If you need energy assistance, you can call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435).

Suggested videos: Full episodes of Next with Kyle Clarke

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