How the wind farms coming to the area affect your bills - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

How the wind farms coming to the area affect your bills

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

Xcel Energy has received approval from key customer groups in the effort to build two new wind farms in the area.

The proposed plan has recently been approved by key customer groups in both New Mexico and Texas.

Now the bill is headed to the desk of utility commissioners for both Texas and New Mexico.

If the plan is passed, it could mean a change in what homeowners see on their energy bill.

Xcel Energy Spokesperson Wes Reeves says big plans need approval before they move forward.

"When we apply to build a new power plant, or something big like that, we have to get approval from both New Mexico and Texas," said Reeves.

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When Xcel Energy submitted plans for two new wind farms, plans were set in motion to gain approval from both states.

The energy corporation submitted their plans to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the Public Commission of Texas and key customers groups.

Key customer groups are necessary because they keep the best interests of the customer in mind.

To ensure that, Xcel Energy creates stipulations that are agreed upon and must be followed.
   
"We take that settlement and record it in something they call a stipulation, and we file that with the commission," said Reeves. "And then they use that to make their final decision."

At this point, the agreed upon stipulations include capping the construction cost recovery at 102.5 percent of the estimated building costs, and crediting customers through their monthly bill with 100 percent of tax credits.

"Part of this, too, is a federal production tax credit," said Reeves. "So we're going to get 100 percent of that credit, and we're going to be able to give 100 percent of that to the customers. So we're not going to be keeping any of that savings, and that was part of the deal with our key groups," said Reeves.

An energy bill is split in to three sections. One section covers fuel costs for facilities. The other two sections help pay for utility workers, maintenance and installation of new equipment.

Reeves said that is why customers will see a slight increase in their bill when the project begins.

"We're saying that the cost to build it will be mitigated by the savings we get. Now there will be other things happening. We are building these other power lines," said Reeves. "So you will see incremental increases in rates over the next few years, but that will start to stabilize once this is all put in place."

Xcel Energy is telling homeowners not to worry and have faith. The wind farm plan is looking at the cost over a long period of time.

Once the builders begin to re-coup costs, energy bills should start to decrease.

Xcel Energy says they hope to break ground on the Planview project sometime during summer of 2018, with ground being broke on the Portales site later in the year.

The energy company says they aim to have construction done and the facilities up and running by 2020.

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