Xcel seeks to increase rates

Freedom New Mexico

Xcel Energy wants to raise electric rates 5.1 percent in New Mexico, a move the utility says would increase the average customer’s bill about $9 a month.

Xcel filed its rate request Thursday with the state Public Regulation Commission, according to company spokesman Wes Reeves.

Reeves said if approved, the increase would raise the average customer’s bill by $8.79 a month.

The average electricity use in New Mexico is 750 kilowatt-hours per month, according to an Xcel Energy news release.

Reeves said the increase is necessary to cover costs of a new generation station in Hobbs and higher costs in operation and maintenance at its other generation stations.

The company’s last rate increase took effect last September and raised rates by 4.31 percent, Reeves said.

The new rate hike would take effect in 2010, if the regulation commission approves it.

Xcel serves about 100,000 customers in New Mexico.

Xcel also is requesting a 5.9 percent rate increase in Texas.