Are you still getting used to the shock of $4.00 a gallon gas? You might want to sit down for this one.

Xcel Energy’s residential customers will see a 38 percent increase in their electricity bills during the third quarter compared with same period a year ago under a new proposal filed with regulators.

Xcel’s rationale for the increase:

The state’s largest utility attributed the increase to the rising cost of natural gas, which along with coal are the main fuels Xcel uses for generating electricity. Xcel and other utilities are required by law to pass fuel costs directly to consumers, dollar for dollar, without profit or loss. As such, regulators typically approve such fuel-cost adjustments quickly.

It sounds like more and more of our income will be going to the necessities of life — gas, heat and food — this year. In addition to driving less, we may need to think about keeping the thermostats at a lower level and exercising more control over our caloric intake. That’s my plan. For other ideas, Xcel encourages you to visit their webpage where it has posted energy saving ideas or by call 1-800-895-4999 for a free copy of 60 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Energy Bill,