Power Company Asking for Larger Rate Increase

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - Xcel Energy is asking for a larger increase in electric rates than it sought when it filed for higher rates in December.

Xcel and the state Public Regulatory Commission held a hearing Monday in Hobbs to discuss the proposed 6.2 percent rate increase.

Lea County Commission Chairman Gary Schubert and others complained about poor customer service from Xcel.

Xcel's director of regulatory affairs, Gary Lakey, says the utility will look into the issues.

He says the rate hike is needed to pay about $7.6 million a year in capacity charges for buying electricity from Lea Power Partners' plant near Hobbs and because of increases in operating expenses, nonfuel purchases and the cost of meeting national renewable energy standards.