By Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
Xcel Energy-Colorado, the state’s largest electric utility, has proposed offering lower rates to new and expanding businesses for up to 10 years.
The proposal was submitted Monday to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Xcel Energy said. The incentive could encourage new commercial and industrial customers to bring their business to Colorado, helping the state rebound from the pandemic-driven economic downturn, the utility said in a statement.
If the PUC approves the incentive, it could help businesses to tap into the utility’s voluntary renewable energy programs to meet their clean-energy goals, said Alice Jackson, Xcel Energy-Colorado’s president.
“Many of our current large commercial and industrial customers have sustainability or carbon reduction goals and participate in our programs such as Solar Rewards and Wind-source,” Jackson said.
A 2018 law allows the PUC to approve lower rates as an economic incentive for businesses to expand their operations or move to Colorado. Xcel Energy said its proposed incentive would discount a set percentage of the customer’s base rate. The percentage would decrease over several years.
Xcel Energy spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said the base rate discounts for a 10-year contract would be 40% in the first three years; 30% in years four and five; 20% for years six and seven; and 10% for the remainder of the contract.
Denver-area economic development organizations said they support Xcel Energy’s proposal and encouraged the PUC to approve it.
“Getting our residents back to work is our highest priority and incentives such as this gives us a better opportunity at securing expansions and attracting new projects,” Jansen Tidmore, president and CEO of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, said.
Thomas Brook, president and CEO of the South Denver Economic Development Partnership, said the incentives will help attract good-paying jobs to Colorado and help maximize the benefits of the utility’s renewable energy programs that businesses can subscribe to.