Colorado

Sep 11, 2009 11:45 AM by Associated Press

Xcel includes food bills as part of fee hike

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has asked Xcel Energy to scrap $480,000 from its rate increase request because the money was spent on employee-recognition awards, parties, and other treats like coffee, bagels, and doughnuts.

The Minneapolis-based utility is asking the commission for a $182 million rate increase in Colorado. The utility included the expenditures for food and parties, which the PUC says should be paid for by shareholders, not taxpayers.

Eliminating the food and parties accounts for less than three-tenths of 1 percent of Xcel's rate request.

Xcel spokesman Joe Fuentes says the utility needs to keep better track of what the food expenditures are used for. The utility may have bought the doughnuts and bagels for crews working after natural disasters but Fuentes says officials don't know for sure.

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