Xcel commercial customers are saving big with this one weird trick

No, this is not a clickbait story! Some Xcel commercial customers really are saving serious coin on their electricity bills after acting on advice in our previous article about a recent rate change.

As we reported, Xcel has changed its rate structure in a way that will enable many smaller commercial customers to get out of the Secondary General (SG) rate category with its pricey demand charges. If your facility is currently billed at the SG rate, it will probably be well worth your while to switch to the Commercial (C) rate.

For example, the Carbondale Clay Center has made the change and expects to cut its electricity bill by 44%, saving about $250 a month. Four of the nonprofit’s seven kilns run on electricity, according to gallery manager Matt Eames. “The kilns are pretty efficient, but we do fire them quite frequently,” he says.

CLEER, the nonprofit that manages GCE’s programs, is advising the Carbondale Clay Center on the redesign of its building for maximum energy efficiency. “Everything we can do to be as completely efficient as possible is in the plan,” says Eames.

CLEER building specialist Heidi McCullough says she knows of several other organizations that are making the switch as a direct result of her outreach.

Colorado Mountain College will save at least 40% on electricity at its Leadville wood shop and 15% at its Lappala Center in Carbondale. The town of Carbondale expects to see 17% savings at its water treatment plant and 12% at town hall.

The Carbondale Recreation Center will probably also be able to achieve big savings, once they’ve made a tweak to their HVAC controls. McCullough was also able to detect the control issue by reviewing the center’s energy usage patterns through Building Energy Navigator, an online tracking system that CLEER has installed in more than 90 institutional buildings around the region.

Check your bill to see if you’re being charged at the SG rate. If so, it’s probably because your building drew more than 25 kW of power (even for just an instant) at some point in the past. Under the new rate structure, Xcel has raised the “demand threshold” to 50 kW, making many commercial accounts eligible to revert to the C rate.

Xcel won’t automatically change your account – it’s up to you to request an account review. Questions? Contact Heidi at hmccullough@cleanenergyeconomy.net.