Xcel Energy may charge more for transmission upgrades

Xcel Energy may charge more for transmission upgrades

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Xcel Energy is seeking to add a charge to Texas customer bills to recover costs of new and updated high-voltage transmission lines built in 2016 for improved reliability and capacity as the region's economy continues to expand.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2016, Xcel Energy invested more than $258 million in new and upgraded transmission lines and substations within the Texas and New Mexico transmission network.

"These investments are driven by the need to accommodate electric load growth across our service territory," said President of Xcel Energy Texas, David Hudson. "As partners in our region's progress, we are obligated to make timely investments in the power grid to provide our communities the abundant and reasonably priced power that will sustain economic growth for years to come."

Through a separate line-item charge known as the transmission cost recovery factor, Xcel is seeking an additional $16.1 million in annual revenues to cover costs associated with the $258 million investment, Hudson said.

The proposed cost represents a monthly increase of $2.11 for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours, or a 1.9 percent increase.

If approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the new charge would appear on Texas customer bills starting in late spring or early summer.

The recent investments are part of the larger "Power for the Plains" transmission enhancement program that was launched in 2010 to improve reliability, meet demand, and provide new renewable energy outlets.

The projects in the Texas and New Mexico service territories are representative of the efforts Xcel Energy undertakes every year to maintain and improve the transmission system for the benefit of its customers.

Two notable examples of recently completed transmission projects are:

  • A project to connect the Bowers Substation in Gray County, Texas, to the Howard Substation in Wheeler County, Texas, via a 115-kilovolt transmission line.
  • A project to construct a new 115-kilovolt line between the Curry County Substation in New Mexico and the Baily County Substation near Muleshoe, Texas.

Both of these projects were undertaken for the purpose of improving the reliability of the transmission system in the northeast and southwest sections of the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico.

For more information on Xcel Energy's Texas-New Mexico transmission expansion, including details and maps of specific projects, visit their website.

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