Coloradans are paying 21 percent more on energy bills compared to six months ago, and rates are expected to rise by another 20 percent in the coming six years, reports the Denver Post. The costs of converting to energies that pollute less, like solar and wind power, coupled with expanding coal plants and transmission lines, are the driving forces. Rates charged to consumers are less, on average, than in other parts of the country. But at the same time, Xcel stock has rebounded from a 2002 low of $5.66 a share—in the wake NRG Energy’s bankruptcy and the fraud of energy trader Enron—to more than $23 today.
Although the expansion of Xcel’s coal-powered Comanche plant in Pueblo is contributing significantly to energy costs, our reliance on coal is anticipated to wane. This year, Xcel subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado is expected to generate 72 percent of its energy from coal, 16 percent from natural gas, and 12 percent from renewable sources. By 2018, coal will be just 48 percent, 33 percent will come from natural gas, and 19 percent from renewables, says Xcel.