Did Ken Salazar Save Money for Xcel's Solar Customers?

August 5 2009, 10:54 AM

Senator Ken SalazarWhile U.S. Interior Secretary and Colorado homeboy Ken Salazar was in Longmont telling the workers of Abound Solar how impressed he was by their enthusiasm, Xcel Energy backed down from its idea of charging customers who depend on solar power a controversial connectivity fee to provide "backup" capacity on the power grid. The proposal would have added $23 a year to the bills of an average Boulder home with a 4.5 kilowatt solar system, sparking outrage and then a concerted campaign by the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association, according to The Denver Post. Several lawmakers, including state Senator Morgan Caroll, an Aurora Democrat, and Governor Bill Ritter, who "believed the surcharge would have created a disincentive for solar investments," had been opposed.

Speaking in high corporate-ese, Karen Hyde, an Xcel vice president for rates and regulatory affairs, explained that "we appreciate that the proposed rate mechanism has caused significant customer confusion" (via the Denver Business Journal). Meanwhile, "a funny thing happened on the way to saving the world's poor from the ravages of global warming. The poor told the warming alarmists to get lost," writes The Wall Street Journal, in a story citing the ultimate global-warming debunker: University of Colorado disaster-trends expert Roger Pielke Jr.