Commercial Xcel customers: you may qualify for big savings

Do you own or manage a business that gets its electricity from Xcel? Do your monthly bills seem awfully high? If so, you may be eligible for big savings under a new rate structure that went into effect Sept. 10.

The change potentially applies to commercial customers who have been placed in the more expensive Secondary General (SG) rate class because they previously exceeded the “demand threshold” that regular commercial customers are allowed. Check your bill to see if you’re being charged at the SG rate.

Regular commercial customers pay for each kilowatt-hour they use, plus monthly fees that amount to about $17. Those that get bumped up to SG status have to pay extra demand charges adding up to hundreds of dollars a month.

Before Sept. 10, a commercial Xcel customer that drew more than 25 kW of power – even for just an instant – got put in SG jail for a year, and then it was up to them to ask to be put back in C class. Now Xcel has raised the demand threshold to 50 kW, which should exempt most small businesses.

But it’s up to each business to request a review in light of the new rate schedule. So check your bill and make that call – it could be worth thousands of dollars a year.

Demand charges aren’t just an extra cost for businesses, they’re also a significant barrier to solar development. An on-site solar system will typically supply all the building’s electricity usage, so on average the customer will only have to pay the nominal service charges, but if the customer is also having to pay exorbitant demand charges the project won’t yield nearly as much savings. That’s why the Colorado Solar and Storage Association went to bat on this issue, persuading the Public Utilities Commission to require the change.

For more info, see Xcel's Business Rates page.